- Pet forum for dogs cats and humans 


Boo sort of snapped today...

May 31st, 2005, 10:03 PM
Boo was severely abused (kicked in the a**, hit with frying pans, hit with everything.....) and he was pretty much totally over it. Until today...

I don't know if he had a bad dream or what, but at the park today (not the dog park), an elderly man was walking through, and Boo started growling. He NEVER growls at any humans. He's ONLY friendly. Even to really bad people. So I didn't know what he was capable of, so I said come here and he was still looking at the man, so I went to get him (not yelling or anything abnormal) and he FREAKED. He thought I was going to kick him. He ran away looking at me with his a** tucked in as far as he could tuck it. He FREAKED. And all day, he thinks I'm going to hit him. I don't know what happened, but it's very upsetting.

Later on, on the way home from the dog park, there was another similar old man at a bus stop and Boo started growling at him too. I don't know. Until today he LOVED old men. If he saw a dog across the park there's a 50/50 chance he'll run after it, but for an old man-- 100% chance he'll go see him. Until today.

I have my guesses about the previous owner. I know he drove a motorcycle and had a home alarm, and hit him with a frying pan (all of these make Boo throw up). I suspect because of his weird attraction to white-haired men the owner may have been exactly that, but up until now, he's only been happy to see them.

Any ideas about what the hey is going on? I hate not trusting him. He's so unpredictable today. :(

May 31st, 2005, 11:24 PM
Google has scars and definitely has been beat or attacked by something.

I have picked up a broom and seen him panic and start shaking. The same when I picked up a long stick in the backyard. He did it in front of Alison once and it broke her heart also.

I don't know what to tell you and hope that one of the trainers answers your question but I know how you feel.

June 1st, 2005, 12:00 AM
I just hope I can trust him. I mean it's been 3.5 years. I just look into his eyes and there's something there. It's like a fearful disappointment. I might be reading into it too much, but I can tell a lot from eyes-- there's so much in a dog's eyes. I just don't see the usual Boo. And it's scary/frustrating/upsetting because I don't know what happened...

June 1st, 2005, 05:34 AM
could boo have seen something that reminded of him of what happened?

my mom adopted a couple of abused dogs when I was a kid, the oldest female always was a bit wary but over the years she came around and was great with most people.

but everytime she saw one of my dads friends, who looked alot like her previous owner, she would get incredibly grumpy and anti social and all we could do is just put her in the bedroom and let it ride till she was happy again

Dogs remember, unfortunatly for them even the bad things


June 1st, 2005, 06:34 AM
I think what this man was wearing, or carrying or even his smell, has triggered Boo's memories of his abusive past. Was this man wearing a hat, or sunglasses or carrying something? It may even have been the aftershave he was wearing.
There was obviously something about this man, that has brought back bad memories!

Poor poor Boo, maybe he thinks he's going back to that life. I'm sure time will and love will get him over this.

June 1st, 2005, 09:43 AM
This right after I'm wondering about Jemma seeing her previous owner. If it affects Boo this much and he doesn't care about anything, I won't even take a chance with Jemma.

I guess it's the suddenness of it that freaked me out. I mean the population is very dense here and my doggies see tons of different people every day. Neither has ever reacted like this before. :(

June 1st, 2005, 09:52 AM
I have to agree with eleni and happycats, something about the man reminded Boo of his bad life :sad: . Poor guy!

It is very scary when your dog acts out in a way he's never done before! With rescue dogs, you just never know what and when something will trigger them to go off.

Sorry Prin, I don't have any advice for you- just a :grouphug: to you and Boo!

June 1st, 2005, 09:58 AM
That's so terrible! I agree that there must have been something, maybe insignificant or unnoticeable to us, but not poor Boo. He must be pretty shaken. I guess that's why he acted spooked around the second man you two saw. I hope he just needs a bit of time to come around again, I'm sure you will be able to trust him again soon!

Poor Boo!


June 1st, 2005, 10:07 AM
When it next happens keep a record in your mind of height, build, clothing, hair colour - anything that could establish a pattern. My Eskimo does not like a certain type of woman - even when driving in the car he will be laughing away and then see said type of woman and growl. The interesting and sad fact is that said women all fit the description of our neighbours about 10 houses up on each side who incidentially do not have dogs, do not like dogs and hate both of us. Our Beagle was terrified of anyone with white or pale blonde hair - loved everyone else though. My husband's father had white hair.

June 1st, 2005, 10:13 AM
I know I am going to say the same thing that you have already heard! Something about this man must have triggered something to make Boo remember. I hate that your poor fur baby still is hurting from this. He knows that you love him. I know that you would not do anything to hurt him and he knows that as well. You are a good mommy and we all know that. Is there anyone one or anything that could have hurt Boo here lately. Something that you would not know about or someone. I know they are with you most of the time. Hang in there we are all here for you and yor baby! You are wonderful for givining this baby a second chance and working to get over the past that the owners before you put your poor baby through.

June 1st, 2005, 10:32 AM
Over twenty years ago our friend's normally friendly Cocker Spaniel would go nuts when the paperboy showed up. They couldn’t understand why this dog seemed hell bent on getting his paws on that cute little blond kid with the baseball hat. Then a neighbour told them something interesting……another little blond kid, with a baseball hat was tormenting the dog through the fence when he was left in the yard.

My dog once disobeyed a recall to go visit an older man one day. He was wagging his butt like crazy as he kept pausing and moving forward but he did not come back until he got within five feet of the guy and then as if a light bulb went off – looked at him, turned and came back to me. I walked up to apologize and explain. My dogs are left with my parents when we are out of town. My father who is a senior wears an outback hat and a pair of shorts when he is working in the garden. He was going to see his buddy.

Friend or foe is sometimes decided on mere appearances. Which of course makes Michael Bryant as smart as a dog - maybe.

June 1st, 2005, 10:38 AM
A dogs sense of smell is great, so I believe things are often triggered by smell.
something we wouldn't even notice, like deodorant, shampoo, perfume, even body odour!

June 1st, 2005, 10:56 AM
Everything everyone else said!!! Poor little Boo, he's sooo lucky to have found you!!! Dogs have very strange triggers, and you might never figure out what his is (might be a smell that we can't perceive)....but since he's with a strong leader, I'm sure he feels comfortable and safe enough that he would never attack anyone....just a little growl every now and then. Give him a big hug for me...and while you're at it, give one to Jemma too...don't want her getting jealous!! :p

I agree that Jemma shouldn't see her previous owner....why confuse her when she's finally settling in??? It might make your move just that much harder on her.

June 1st, 2005, 11:25 AM
Our Corgi x that was thrown over our fence at a very, very young age always reacted badly towards short stocky men with beards, especially if they were wearing a hat. The vet always said that she would get over whatever happened to her before she was thrown over our fence, but I don't think she ever did. We never hit her but that didn't keep her from cowering if you got out the broom or happened to be picking up tree branches in the backyard. I agree that something about these two guys triggered unpleasant associations in Boo. It'll probably take her a couple of days to get out of the fear mode again. Poor Boo!

June 1st, 2005, 08:42 PM
Boo sounds a lot like Chloe. When I got Chloe she was about 10 months old. She had a broken tooth, a crooked tail, was extremely thin and nervous. Till this day she still freaks out when I take out the broom to sweep the floor. I wonder why!
She is now 4 1/2 years old. Last summer she bit my nephew's 18 year old girlfriend. She had never met this girl and my nephew let her out of the truck when we weren't around but at the time I wouldn't have throught twice about telling him to do so. She had had some aggression issues when we first got her because of fear but she seemed to overcome them.
A few months after the bite we were at the dog park. A young girl who looked like my nephew's girlfriend came into the park and immediatley was attracted to Chloe. She kept looking at her and eventually wandered over. When she stuck her hand out to pet Chloe, Chloe jumped on her, barked and I think grabbed her arm. I was so shocked and so was the girl.
I don't think they ever completely get over the abuse or neglect they may have endured. Some times it may be a look or a sound that sets them off. With time and consistent love the bad memories lessen but will always be there.
How is he doing today?

June 1st, 2005, 08:50 PM
awww poor baby!!
poor thing!

honestly i think animals are capable of seing much more in other people than we can as humans. SO you never know what thsoe old men did or Boo felt in them.

horrible people who abuse animals! makes me think real bad things of doing to those people to see how it feels!! :mad: :evil: disgusting! animals should be respected :(...sigh.......

June 1st, 2005, 10:16 PM
Jake, my Husky mix, was severely beaten as a puppy. To this day, 6 years later, if I am renovating the house and I leave a piece of wood lying around, he will not walk over it. I could try coaxing him with raw liver and he wouldn't come. He also freaked out once really badly - shaking uncontrollably, tail between the legs - when he heard an older man coming up behind him who was using a cane. Jake also does not respond well at all to men (except my ex-husband who is gentle and whom Jake loves). Jake really hates older men, especially those who smoke, and goes nuts barking at them with his tail between his legs. My ex-father-in-law was a smoker and Jake could never get over his fear of this man.

Abused dogs never fully recover from their past and even when the physical wounds heal, the psychological scars remain. Jake will have problems until the day he dies and that is just the way he is. I know that he is a lot calmer now, and that he is almost care-free at times, but I also know that his memories are intact and that a certain stimulus can stir up the memories (like smoke).

Boo is lucky to have you. A behaviouralist that I consulted with Jake suggested that I give him tons of cookies whenever there is a trigger (ex. a man who smokes) because then even though he will never like men who smoke, at least he will associate their appearance with cookies, which are positive.


June 1st, 2005, 10:45 PM
Thank you guys so much for your replies. So reassuring that it is "normal" for an abused doggy to flashback even years later. I thought he just became unsociable all of a sudden. I saw a chocolate lab who had a concussion "turn" once and it was the first thing that popped in my head. He really had no symptoms left of the abuse until yesterday. He is so desensitized to everything (except certain old men...).

Today he was better until we went to the new house. He did bark at one old man, but then he barked at a woman at the park too (she was being sneaky though, so that's understandable). The old men wear glasses, some sort of hat and shorts-- they all have the same sort of not thin but not fat body type, you know where the gut is fatty a bit but the rest is skin and bones? Those men. I hope it's JUST those men.

He was so nervous today at the new house, but it's so hard to reassure a doggy when we're nervous too (my first house). Boo, who seemed ok other then the old man thing, was freaking in the car on the way over and wandered away a few times. We had a really hard time getting him to stay in the house. Jemma was ok, which was surprising because she's been weird for the past week too. Lucky for us, we're moving slowly, so the doggies have more time to get used to the idea before we plunge right in. I hope they do ok. And I hope I don't worry too much and rub off on them...

Cactus Flower
June 1st, 2005, 10:50 PM
Has Boo been out of your sight at all recently?

Very sad, this.

June 1st, 2005, 10:54 PM
NEVER NEVER NEVER. Even my man hasn't walked him without me recently. My doggies are either at home or out WITH me. We don't have a yard, so I have to go out with them. I never let him out of my sight because he eats whatever he finds and it costs me tons-- totally preventable expenses... Plus after people have offered to "trade" Boo for their doggies, I don't let him out of my sight. He's a handsome, and such a SWEET doggy, everybody wants him...

Look at the love in his eyes-- who wouldn't want to see that every day?

doggy lover
June 2nd, 2005, 09:43 AM
I think that just like we don't like people on first meeting them that dogs can sometimes feel the same way too. With humans who knows what a dog smells or sences about them, even with other dogs the dog could be ill and we don't know but they do and weekness or illness is not acceptable in the dog pack. It could be many things who knows, there has to be a reason that maybe only he will understand?

June 2nd, 2005, 09:54 AM
he could be anxious about moving too,

its gotta be hard on a dog who can be insecure to leave their home.

im sure he wil be just fine with a bit of extra love and tlc

give him kisses for ALL of us, hes a great dog and lucky to ahve you


June 2nd, 2005, 10:02 AM
I agree that dogs have really good judgement (most of the time) when it comes to who they like or don't like. I have always paid attention when my dogs have taken an immediate dislike to someone, and most of the time I find out that the person isn't a good person. The breeder that my mom got her Rotti from used her rotti to tell her if she should let a person buy a dog or not (of course, that wasn't the only basis she used :p ). If her rotti wouldn't allow someone to pet her, or if she growled at them - then no puppy. I too found that at least Koda (the rotti) had a really good sense about people. My parents owned a bar that Koda was in all the time. She would allow most people to give her loves, but every once in a while she would steer clear of someone, and sooner or later - that person would start a fight or something and have to be kicked out. Although I still think that in Boo's case, these men probably triggered memories of abuse.

June 2nd, 2005, 10:40 AM
That is partly why it scared me-- Boo does NOT have any sense of people. Our old meighbor had a tatoo on his forehead and a wicked temper and who knows what else- Jemma HATED him but Boo was always so excited to see him. He still looks for him when we pass by his old place. If Jemma barks at a person Boo follows her sometimes, but alone he's a really bad judge of character. That's why I'm leaning toward that the old man looked like his abuser.

Cactus Flower
June 2nd, 2005, 02:38 PM
This is a good example of why I don't subscribe to the if-my-dog-doesn't-like-someone-there-must-be-something-bad-about-that-person theory. There could be nothing wrong with the individual- they just remind your dog of something bad.
Raj didn't and still doesn't like one of my closest friends. I know this man probably better than anyone does, and he is a true animal lover, a gentle and sweet person right down to his soul. But he just so happens to fit the "type" that Raj mistrusts- dark haired, tall men.

How is Boo doing today?

June 2nd, 2005, 03:02 PM
I agree my SIL has a black GSD that is about 4 or 5 years old! This dog hates me! I would walk in a room and he would growl and show his teeth and I have NEVER done anything to that dog! :eek: I will give him treats and he will take them but does not like me. Two days ago I went over there and he actaully let me play with him without wanting to eat me! LOL :D

June 2nd, 2005, 08:07 PM
He's much better today. Of course we didn't run into any old men. There was one that I thought would be the only possible one that could have done something to him and we saw him today and Boo didn't even react to him. So I guess it wasn't him.

But he is much closer to his easy-going self again.

Cactus Flower
June 2nd, 2005, 09:10 PM
Good to hear!

June 3rd, 2005, 04:27 PM
I went to the new house last night and I figured out for sure that Boo was abandoned while he was umm... busy. We knew before when we were driving to PEI, we stopped to let him go and he would run into the woods and run back out to see if we were still there. It was so funny but so frustrating too (it was dawn and the mosquitos!!!).

Anyway, last night before coming back to the apartment, I told him to pee before we left and normally he doesn't hesitate, but this whole house thing is weird for him and so he refused to go. I repeated the command to go and he pretended to look for a spot to go and as soon as I opened a car door he bolted into the car. Really funny considering this guy has taught me to be patient by being SOOOOOO SLOOOOOW when he comes to the car. Geez is he SLOW. But not yesterday. It's funny that he thinks I'm trying to trick him. I say funny because I won't ever leave him behind, and his facial expressions are so goofy when he's paranoid (otherwise it's very sad).

June 3rd, 2005, 06:06 PM
That would be so funny, if it wasn't so cruel to think of someone abandoning their pet while they were doing their business! Poor Boo! I'm sure he'll settle down soon.

I forgot to mention in my other reply that two of the guys that Boon hated the worst were good friends of ours. One we have known for probably 25 years or so and he would never hurt a fly! And the other will probably become my son's father in law. I know that she was just reacting to their build and general appearance - she never got close enough to see if they were nice people or not! :p

June 3rd, 2005, 07:13 PM
love, kindness and lots and lots and lost of reassurance.

do you ahve any friends of that description that would nto mind working with poor little boo?? perhaps you can use a person to desensitise him.

big kisses to boo :love:

Cactus Flower
June 4th, 2005, 01:13 AM
Good idea, Mel!!!!!