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nervous rescue dog

B Worgan
September 30th, 2008, 08:53 AM
Hi There!
I just adopted a 10 month old lab mix, Gryphon from a rescue organization. I don't know a whole lot about his past other than that he has been moved around a fair bit (from the pound to a foster home and then to us). We have had him for about 10 days. He is a very nervous little guy. Gryphon is such a sweet dog. He loves to kiss and cuddle. He has never shown even the slightest sign of aggresion. Last week he seemed to be doing well and then after the weekend he seemed to get worse. We had company over on the weekend and he was very scared. Is it possible he thought they were coming to take him away? He either wants to hide in his crate or he sticks to me like glue. He is quite afraid of my boyfriend (who lives with me). He is nothing but gentle with Gryphon but he seems to shy away from him. He loves other dogs and gets really excited when he is around them. I try not to coddle him, but he just looks so scared and sad. Please help! I really want the little guy to feel at home.

September 30th, 2008, 09:04 AM
First of all, thank you for adopting a rescue will NOT regret, that is for sure. :thumbs up

Both Ginger and Hobo are rescues so I can relate to what you are writing. Be patient and don't coddle, especially when he is being nervous. It is going to take him a while to gain his confidence. The best you can do is have a solid routine that he can count on. Feed at the same time, walk at the same time, play at the same time. He will gain confidence once he is sure about what is going to happen next.

We were lucky that both dogs "took" to both of us right away. We both are equally involved in the feeding/walking routine simply by virtue of our jobs. Perhaps if your boyfriend gets involved in the feeding/walking aspects Gryphon (LOVE the name!) will be able to warm up to him more.

Hope this helps...It does take some time for them to get used to another new situation. Just be calm and assertive and you will "know" the day that he is settled :lightbulb: and I guarantee you your heart will swell!!! :lovestruck::lovestruck:

(by the way, some people will want pictures asap!!!)

September 30th, 2008, 09:52 AM
Congrats on your new addition. Also, bless you for taking a rescue.

Rescue dogs and shelter dogs alike may take a while to adjust to their new surroundings. I have had 64 rescues in my home and adjustment varies from one dog to the next - so it is difficult to speculate how long the adjustment period will be. However, I have found that the dog will usually be on the best behaviour for 2 weeks and then certain 'quirks' will arise (which is normal). Also, full adjustment (average) period is anywhere from 3 months - 6 months and by this time his/her character is fully exposed.

The best advise that I can provide is for at least 2-4 weeks, try to establish a calm bond with the dog. Activity in the household should be minimal.

When the dog cowers or hides in fear or distress, pull out his/her most valuable possession (a toy would be the best) and encourage play. Use a normal voice that you would normally use and not a 'little' voice. Just be normal and encourage the dog to participate using his toy as a vice to divert his mind from being submissive and shy to a mind that is more assertive and confident. I guarantee that this will work - it has never failed me.

The best remedy is changing the mind set of the dog at 'that' moment by diversion.

Good luck.

September 30th, 2008, 09:59 AM
Bendyfoot - where are you????

September 30th, 2008, 11:36 PM
Personally I would ignore him, let him come to you. Have a regular schedule for potty breaks and exercise and leave him be, let him chill. Usually rescues take a good 2-3 weeks to settle in. IF he does something inappropriate do correct him gently but don't over do it. If he comes to you give him a gentle pat and soothing good boy or hello. If he does something good praise him (I personally use thank you) you can gently start with things like having him sit before food, going outside, getting a leash on etc, that is good and a bonding confidence builder for him. Don't chase him around trying to make buddies, it will only drive him away, by ignoring him he will start to be curious about you and will see you two as non-threatening and will want to be with you.

October 1st, 2008, 03:54 AM
We took a rescue dog home for company for Kai a few months ago. Her name is Stella. We got her from African Tails - a private rescue org. We got her at 6 weeks and even after these months - if i just change the tone of my voice - not to her - but shout at my boys for mucking around or whatever, she turns tail and disappears. Its a survival instinct - we are carrying on regardless - lots of play, regular meal times, strict boundaries (no changing of rules therefore no confusion) no poo-pooing around her and she is turning into a marvellous, loyal dog. She realised eventually that nothing was going to happen to her no matter what. Some dogs are just more shy in personality than others and they will always be wary of strangers and anything different to what they already can trust. But you will get there. Just stick with it. I think if you faff over her too much when she behaves skittish then you are in a way rewarding her for behaving that way? Im no dog psychologist, just my thoughts.