Archives for Timid Dog Behavior category

Rescue Sweet Rescue

Posted on Feb 12, 2014
Adopt a Shelter Dog, Behavioral Modification, Bully Happiness, Dalmation, Dog Humor, Dog Rescue, Dog Training, Doggie Rehab, Dogs and Instinct, Dogs and Sarcasm, Socialization, Teaching Your Dog to Stay, Timid Dog Behavior
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Meet Chloe and Coco.  Chloe is an adorable, smart, and amazingly mature 8 year old.  Her new best friend and rescued pup is Coco.  Chloe’s family already had two larger dogs who are very well trained and the addition of this little one was new territory, so I was called. I am more than delighted to have the pleasure of working with this family and their commitment to having a stable, well behaved small dog (not always an easy task with a nervous rescue).

As some of you know, my heart is with assisting timid dogs in gaining confidence and feeling secure in their new homes.  Initially, Coco was afraid of – well, as they say, her own shadow. Now?  I will let the images do the talking.  This is Chloe and Coco after we walked to school (with a lot of distractions) and are waiting for class to start.  I am truly amazed and impressed with how bonded these two are and how this little (a-lot-less-nervous-now) pup looks to Chloe for guidance.  A reminder that good things come in small packages – and, I’m not just talking about the dog.

Has Your Dog Been Misused?

Posted on May 20, 2010
Dog Training, Energy and Dogs, Learn From A Dog, Socialization, Timid Dog Behavior
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I have clients, particularly those who have a dog with an unknown past, ask if I think their dog has been abused.  One of the definitions given for abuse is misuse.  I think it applies adequately to the amazing dogs who share our lives.

Misuse doesn’t feel as strong as abuse.  If a dog is left alone in a yard without being socialized adequately, I consider that misuse.  A dog in this situation may later appear as though someone had hit it because it becomes afraid of everything that wasn’t a part of its life as it matured.  It can tuck its tail and cower when it hears an unfamiliar sound as if it had been hit.

A dog may cower and release their bladder when someone reaches for them as if they had been hit in the past, when really it was misused in the sense that it didn’t learn positive touch as a pup.  Some of this behavior can be hard-wired, but a lot of it comes from how they are socialized and the appropriate attention given as they mature.

A high energy dog could be considered misused if it isn’t given a job.  That job can come in the form of specific training, appropriate exercise, and/or something like agility training which provides focus, exercise,  and structure.

Describing our dogs as having been abused should not be something we coddle or shy away from; rather we should find positive ways to encourage these beings to participate and be in life with a family.  Most dogs who have been truly abused have forgotten or lost the ability to be dogs.  There’s nothing like another confident dog to show them the way.  I often bring a dog of mine to work with timid dogs.  He does in minutes what could take me hours.

For as much as we love our dogs, we are humans!  We need to spend less time attempting to see their humanness and more time seeing who they are as dogs.  They will be much happier and so will we.  Every dog is different just as every human is different.

If you think your dog has been misused or you may be contributing to a life of misuse, please contact me.  I am glad to provide guidance.  The more dogs who are happy dogs with happy humans, the fewer that end up in shelters.

When You Surrender A Dog

Posted on May 09, 2010
Behavioral Modification, Dog Rescue, Doggie Rehab, Socialization, Timid Dog Behavior
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I came across the paperwork I had on my precious, little Melody.  As I worked with some timid dogs at the local shelter to help them be adoptable, I met a not-so-happy Yorkie who had been surrendered.  She had been a breeder at a puppy mill.  This is the statement of surrender the woman had to sign in order for this no-kill shelter to take responsibility for her.


I, the undersigned, do hereby unconditionally donate to the Morongo Basin Humane Society, my animal to dispose of as it sees fit, relinquishing all my rights, title and interest in said animal.  I further represent that I am the owner thereof, or the agent for the animal.  I understand that any animal may be euthanized.

I read and re-read the above paragraph.  Knowing Melody as I do now, it’s hard to imagine anyone being able to sign such an agreement.  I am in no way faulting the shelter.  This is what they have to do and this shelter is great and does so much for so many.  I was fortunate enough to bring Melody home to help her trust human touch, and the rest is history.

If you or anyone you know, needs to re-home a dog, please do your best to find a home without surrendering to the already over-crowded shelters.  It is traumatic for a dog to go from a loving home environment to a shelter.  If I can be of assistance in any way, please let me know.

A Ticklish Dog?

Posted on Feb 11, 2010
Dog Humor, Dog Smile, Timid Dog Behavior
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I took Melody to the vet (he is wonderful!) and I told him how she is better but because of her past, still pulls away from being touched. She had a heart murmur and was being checked for that condition. As he was palpating (touching) her, she flinched and made a purr-type sound. He said, she is ticklish. I love that!

I have to admit, I had never heard anyone put it that way. She is ticklish! As a dog used for breeding in a puppy mill, she most likely didn’t receive any affection as a puppy or as an adult for that matter. She has grown to love being touched and being held. AND, she is ticklish!

If there is a medical term for this, I prefer to let it go with calling her ticklish. Her nervous motion along with the sweet “giggle” she makes, brings a smile to everyone around her.

Is your dog ticklish?

Can Dogs Be Insecure?

Posted on Oct 04, 2009
Behavioral Modification, Dog Psychology, Dogs and Instinct, Pit Bull, Timid Dog Behavior
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Dogs are similar to us when it comes to needing to feel secure.  They may have a past of abuse or may be genetically hard wired to be timid or insecure.  Everyone knows and appreciates what it means to hear someone say, “I’ve got your back.”  That someone accepts you for who you are; even, or especially when you feel insecure.  Olive, a very special Staffordshire Bull Terrier (with an abusive past), was openly insecure and needed someone to have her back in more ways than one.

In her case, it was more that she needed to have someone’s back – literally,  to be able to relax and trust what was going on around her.  If you don’t think dogs need a connection to feel secure, think again.

In this photo, Olive was finding comfort on her life-long companion, Chapin, who always allowed Olive to find her “calm” while resting on top of Chapin.

After Chapin passed, the next two photos show how Olive tried to find that same security in Zoe.  It appears that Olive knew something very valuable – they had her back while she had theirs.

Pit Bull Fighting

Posted on May 11, 2008
Behavioral Modification, Discussion Tab, Dog Psychology, Dogfighting, Doggie Rehab, Pit Bull, Timid Dog Behavior
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My name is Olive. I’m a Staffordshire Bull Terrier. You can see how nice I look. I’m even smiling in this picture. It wasn’t always this way. I was part of a Pit Bull fighting ring. Here’s how my life started. . .

They took me from my Mom too young. I was scared. Then, I got pregnant. I can still hear the men’s voices and they are yelling. The other dogs around me are filled with fear that turns to rage. They are fighting again. I’m glad that this time they “used” another dog to get them stirred up.

On a good day, I’m left in this tiny pen listening to dogs fighting and men yelling. I let the fear fill me and I sit and shake. Why me?

On a bad day? I hear someone say, get her. She’ll get the other dogs to fight. They toss me into the pen. The first dog seems to really hate me. I have to defend myself, and as much as it makes me uncomfortable, it’s instinct. I need to protect my unborn pups. I don’t know if I’m relieved or scared even more when the other dog held to the side is released. It means that now I’ll get removed until next time.

Finally, I was able to escape, and I ran away. I wanted to run and to keep running to get away from how I felt. On one paw, I wanted to keep running so that I could feel safe, and yet I was too scared to be alone. I didn’t know what to do. I met some nice people who took me into their home. I was beat up and covered in sores from mange. I listen for the yelling and the other dogs fighting, but so far that hasn’t happened. Yet. I will always wonder if it’ll happen again.

That was seven years ago. Since then, I’ve been living in a love-filled home with other nice dogs. Without words, I can only show what I’m feeling. Even after all these years, I have moments where I panic. I want to run and run just to get away from the feeling that is buried deep inside me. It’s buried in the place that makes my tail wag – or in this case, not wag.

There are a lot of moments where I forget what happened. I’m joyful and my tail can’t stop from moving. Other days, I sit and stare and want to hide. I hear my “Mom” talking with people about me. She has loved me and kept me safe but she knows. She knows and can see that some times I’m lost.

The abuse I experienced from the dog fights will not leave me. I have new memories to put in their place, but some days that’s not so easy. I remember. It’s not a memory in my mind. It’s a memory in my soul. It’s consuming.

I hope there are big people who can stop dog fighting. Perhaps Oprah can do a show to bring more awareness to how horrible it is for us. Maybe some day the people who think this is a sport, will be able to feel in their hearts what I feel. If they do, they will never forget it. Nor will I.