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Two questions re: our rescued dog

December 28th, 2003, 12:57 PM
Hello Everyone,

Brief history: Casey is a shihtzu/toy poodle mix, approximately 12 months or older, according to the vet. We rescued her from our humane society on December 11th, this year.

We have a woman in our city who over the years had ended up having animals dropped off in her yard by people who didn't want them anymore. 22 animals, including dogs, cats and rabbits were seized from her home due to neglect as the woman became overwhelmed with all the animals.

Some of the animals were dead, dying and had to be euthanized. Casey was one of the lucky ones who survived. When she arrived at the humane society, she was filthy, flea-ridden and bitten and severly malnourished as were the other animals.

Upon bringing Casey home we found her quite skittish and jumpy around everyone which we knew to be normal for the situation she had come from. She has her had first vet visit where it was determined she also had 2 ear infections and a severe skin condition because of the fleas.

We took her to the groomers and got her all cleaned up and now she looks like a new dog and appears quite happy in our home but we do have 2 problems we are trying to deal with and I need your help.

Problem 1: All of the animals were allowed to do their business in this womans home and try as I might, Casey will not go outside so for now I've started using puppy pads with a high degree of success and have finally got it next to the back door. (she still has some accidents) I'm hoping to get her to go outside within the next week but if the training with thwe pads does not work, what can I try next ?

Problem 2: Casey growls at everyone that knocks at the door or rings the bell. She growls at people she sees outside and growls at our company, specifically my 2 year old grand-daughter, our friend's 5 year old and my son's friend who is 9.

When she growls, I sternly say "Casey, no". I figured if I do this enough, she will stop. We have concluded that her original owners may have had young children that were too rough with her or abused her and she acted out therefore the owners dropped her off at the woman's house as un-wanted.

Sorry this is so long but I felt the history was important and I'm looking forward to your suggestions.

Thank you, Sandi

December 28th, 2003, 01:55 PM
Here's a great site that can help you with several issues:

Have you considered crate training for her? It may be really helpful, both in terms of helping potty train her, and giving her a safe place to retreat to when she's stressed - the growling is stress and fear, rather than aggression, I am guessing.

I'm not big on crating a dog all day, but we took in a very fearful untrained shelter Rottweiler two years ago. Not only was Daphne horribly anxious when we left her (she chewed through EVERYTHING, she would have reduced the house to a heap of smoking rubble!) but she was nervous, piddled everywhere, and wasn't reliable around guests. I'm happy to report that she is almost a model citizen now. :) The crate was invaluable for her, and it still sits in my office with the door off. It's "her" place & where she chooses to go sleep.

I would let Casey keep her distance from strange people and visitors, no point letting her get stressed because she won't learn anything from it. You're doing the right thing in correcting her. How about taking her to some basic group obedience classes? Find some good ones where they'll understand her special needs...learning and being around other people in a structured setting will really boost her confidence!

You haven't had her that long, it will take quite some time for her to get more comfortable. Be patient! And bless your heart for taking her in. :)

December 28th, 2003, 09:04 PM
All what Carina wrote is VERY knowledgable.

I'm gonna add my two cents:

when you say "Casey, no", REDIRECT her.

this could be a "sit" command, take her to another room and give her a toy... whatever it is that you do.

simply imagine a 2 yr old Human (lol), you can't simply say NO and expect them to understand.


Good LUCK!

December 29th, 2003, 08:05 AM
Thank you for your suggestions. I'll give them a try and see what happens. :)

December 29th, 2003, 09:13 AM
One more thought on house training...treat her like a little puppy, giving her every possible chance to go outside. When waking up, after playing, eating or drinking, etc. Watch for signs she's about to go. Go out with her and have a PARTY when she goes out there! Treats, even. Just make a huge fuss! Even if the neighbors think you've lost your last marble. :D

December 29th, 2003, 02:53 PM
We already treat her like a puppy as she acts like one :)

Actually we think she is younger than was estimated and we are loving every minute :)

Thanks for all of your help.