- Pet forum for dogs cats and humans 


Depressed Dog... please help!!! :-(

November 6th, 2006, 06:41 PM
Hello everyone... this is my 1st post and I am having an issue I really need some help with. Last week I got a 1 year old long-haired chihuahua female. The breeder was going to keep her for show, but as the dog did not become large enough to breed (she weighs 3 lbs) she decided to go ahead and place her with a pet family. I drove to Georgia to bring her home and she was fine the 1st day but since then has just become so depressed I can hardly stand it. I have taken her to the vet for a physical and the vet says she's healthy, she has a beautiful, thick, shiny coat, precious face, etc. but she is just so unhappy its killing me. I cannot stand for any animal to be upset and Harley just mopes everywhere, she has to be fed out of my hand or she won't eat, she won't drink at all, never wags her tail, always has her tail tucked and she shakes, she puts her head on the ground and her butt in the air and just sits there and won't move, when we go to pick her up she tenses her whole body, stiffens her legs, and cries... it is the saddest thing I have ever seen! She is used to other dogs, but when my lab and yorkie try to play with her she just walks away and hides. The breeder said to give her a couple of weeks, but she's been here a full week and it is only getting worse every day. Does anyone have any suggestions of how I can help my little Harley out of this depression? I just want her to be happy and healthy. She has everything she could possibly want or need but is still miserable... Please help us :-(

Brooke & Harley

November 6th, 2006, 06:44 PM
I'd say just give her lots of love and let her know she is special and she should come around, it takes a while for some animals to adjust to a new lifestyle, even if its a better one.

Good luck and I would love to see some pictures

November 6th, 2006, 07:02 PM
First off, I would keep her away from the other dogs for now so she can bond with you and become more comfortable around you.

Don't rush her, don't try to pet her and pick her up too much, and actually there's no reason she should be picked up right now anyway. Dogs don't HAVE to be held, and oftentimes when a dog is not used to you and is uncomfortable it's a really bad idea to do so.

Don't give her full run of the house yet, it could be intimidating to her. Confine her to just one room right now and give her a den-like place to go, like a dog crate with some blankets and stuff, or even just a box that she can go in to sleep or rest for a little while. Calmly interact with her by talking softly and gently touching her, don't try to pick her up or be in her face about it.

That's just a few ideas, I'm sure more people will be along to give you some more.
A week isn't a very long time for a dog to get used to being in a completely new enviroment, so don't feel bad.

November 6th, 2006, 07:03 PM
If the vet says she is fine, then all she probably needs is a period of adjustment; maybe she is a little bit frightened of your other dogs and just needs some time.
Good luck for her and congratulations!

November 6th, 2006, 08:57 PM
My dog Duke was like that when I brought him home and I started sitting or lying on the floor everyday and let him come to me when he was ready. After a few days he started laying down with me, so I would lay my hand on him and talk to him softly and he gradually started coming to me on the couch and eventually started wagging his tail. It takes time but might be worth a try.

November 6th, 2006, 09:04 PM
Im sure it'll be fine, the suggestions here are great. Just remember to try and remain calm around her and talk in a calm even tone, high pitch or baby talk can be mistaken for excitement or fear. which may be too much for her to deal with right now. Good luck and post some pics please

November 6th, 2006, 09:49 PM
She sounds like a sensitive little soul. When I get a new, shy rescue we go for walkies (just the 2 of us) and I spend alot of time playing fetch, cuddling and and bonding. The usual period of adjustment is 6 weeks until they're completely comfortable in their new environment and feel secure.

November 7th, 2006, 12:30 AM
I agree with all the others. Everything is all so new to her and she just needs some time to adjust. Spend lots of one on one time with her until she feels comfortable in her new surroundings.

BTW, welcome to the forum and we'd love to see pics of her and your lab and yorkie.

November 7th, 2006, 07:27 PM
I have experienced this with a couple of my foster dogs. Most are fine in a day or so but others may take a little longer to adjust. One in particular comes to mind. He was about 9 years old and dumped at the SPCA. The family developed allergies after 9 years apparently. :frustrated:
He was going to be put down but we were contacted first. When I picked him up he barely wagged his tail which is unusual for a golden. At my home he would eat but it was as if he had no will to live. His fur was matted and his nails were way too long so I had him groomed. About a week after I brought him home a family was interested in adopting him. They had two young girls about 8 and 10 years old. It was love at first sight for all three of them. The change was almost immediate and he had a purpose again. Maybe there were children in his previous family and he missed them.
Maybe your pup is missing someone or something from his previous home. It will take time but he will get over it and bond with you. Take it slowly and as was suggested sit on the floor and allow him to come to you.

November 7th, 2006, 08:52 PM
Everyone has been so helpful and caring with their suggestions and I can't tell you how much Harley and I appreciate it. I have printed off the suggestions and am taking them all to heart. Today I found out what a huge part of the problem was... my poor little girl was in pain :( I had been noticing that sometimes when we would pick her up she would cry, but I attributed it to the depression since the vet had done a full physical just last Friday, but I couldn't shake the feeling that maybe something more was wrong. I called the vet and told them to please work us in today and my vet did a full work up on her and found that she is having some pain at the base of her neck. She got a cortizone (sp?) shot and some pain medicine and if that doesn't work she is going to get x-rays next week. I do not know what could have hurt her... I watch her constantly and my dogs are never alone with her even for a second. Anyways, tonight she ate all her dinner and even wagged her tail and licked my hands and face a little. Any improvement is good because I am just worried sick... I just recently lost the love of my life, a tiny one 1/2 pound chihuahua named Olivia :angel: so now I am paranoid about everything! My dad found this site for me and I am so thankful he did because you have all been very supportive and I really appreciate it... I will get some pictures of Harley and some new ones of my precious Savannah (yellow lab) and Sophie (my 12 lb. yorkie) and post them ASAP. Thanks again and if anyone has further suggestions I am still open!

Brooke, Harley, and the rest of the gang

Rob n Cody
November 8th, 2006, 08:32 AM
Nice to hear that there's at least something you can put your finger on (even though it's not nice that she's hurting)!
Lots of love to your furry brood, and Cody and I are sending good vibes your way. I'm sure she'll come around with a mum as great as you
licks from Cody

November 8th, 2006, 10:55 AM
I have noticed a lot of improvement in Harley today! She seems to be feeling much better - still not quite up to par of course, but I'll give her as much time as she needs to get used to us... I think her neck hurting was what really had her down because she is not nearly as pitiful as she was two days ago! I am keeping my fingers crossed for a full recovery :fingerscr and I'll update everyone! Thanks and now that I can relax I'll have a look around the rest of the site :pawprint:

November 9th, 2006, 02:13 AM
Thanks for the update. Glad Harley is feeling better and hope she continues to improve. Don't forget to post pics of your gang. :D