Puppy Mill Dog Stays in Crate But Loves Outdoors

by Stephanie
(US)

I just read Teddy's story and I was truly inspired. We adopted a pomerarian this year (June 2008). She also was from a puppy mill. She was scared to do anything. Her name is Cleopatra and we are still working with her. The only time we can get her to come out of her cage is for her daily walks. I have never seen her more happier. Her personality shows outside. She loves the outdoors. But as soon as she gets in side, she will immediately go to her crate. Cleopatra will stay there all day. How can I make the indoors seem like the outdoors? When she is outside you would never know she was abused but inside she just shuts down. Please help.

Thanks

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Nov 11, 2008
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Cleopatra
by: Donna

Basically, it takes time. In general, most abused dogs continue to display timid behavior because they are unclear as to when they?re doing the right thing and when they are doing the wrong thing. In your case, Cleopatra, from the little I
can determine thinks that going into her crate is what is expected of her. You must try to change this behavior. Not necessarily an easy task.

Strive for clear communication with Cleopatra. The #1 reason that dogs who have been abused in the past continue to show timid behavior Is because they are confused. Try to communicate with your dog in a way that will make her relax and let her know it is ok to come out of the crate and she will not be punished for doing so. It is difficult for me to be more specific from the little that You may want to go and have a look at your local book store or library and see what is available on this subject. Do allow her to become accustomed to you and her surroundings at her own pace ? don't try to force the issue.

Build your dog's confidence by introducing her to situations in which you arrange for her to be successful (arrange a positive outcome.)

Nov 11, 2008
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Cleopatra
by: Stephanie

Hello Donna,
Thank you for the advice. We were just wondering what other things we could try. My husband and I adopted our first dog a year before Cleopatra. His name is Cesar. He was thrown out of the car when he was really young, but he doesn't remember it. But I think the difference between the two....we got him when he was about 3 months old, while we adopted Cleopatra at 3. They are both lovable dogs.




Nov 11, 2008
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Cleopatra
by: Donna - dog-beds-n-beyond

Hi Stephanie,

I was saddened by your story. So many dogs are abused it is just heartbreaking. It is people like you that provide homes for these dogs that are to be commended.

If Cleopatra is from a puppy mill, she was probably caged and forgotten and who knows what kind of abuse she endured. I suspect that when she sees the crate she thinks that staying in there is what is expected of her.

Love is important of course but the trauma she has most likely suffered, and the coping and survival mechanisms she has adopted, won't be healed just by offering her your love you must build a leadership or Alpha role(the whole family). Loyalty to you and your family will be the result.

The first step in reaching your dog would be to provide a consistent schedule which will provide her with something she can learn to trust. An example of this is to begin with the feeding schedule. Feed her at a certain time each day (preferably after the family has eaten.Alpha's always eat first). Feed her in the same spot. Allow say 15-20 minutes to eat and then pick up the bowl, even it the food has not been touched. This makes you the provider, not the bowl. Follow by a walk outside, or possibly playtime in the back yard or at the park. When your dog knows that specific things happen at specific times, she will become bonded to that schedule and will look to you to keep things running smoothly so she can just relax and just be a happy dog.

You have not had her that long and it will take a lot of time and patience for her to get used to her new home and surroundings.

Being outside is freedom for her and she obviously loves the feeling of being free for the first time in her life (you did not say how old she was).

Keep working with her, with abused dogs, trust takes time, try to play with her in the house if you can. If she is unresponsive, keep trying. Do not yell at her or at any other member of the family (she will think it is directed at her). What would happen if you removed the crate and just had a bed for her with toys? This is just a suggestion, I do not know if it will work but it might be worth trying.

Just a couple more things about developing the leadership role with Cleopatra, always try to be upbeat and happy. Canines "feed off" of body language, tones of voice, and body stature. Always remember your posture; don't bend over to your dog's level. You can crouch down depending on the situation but try to avoid lowering yourself down to her level; this will be associated with submissiveness.

If you do these things consistently (bending over, kneeling, crouching, etc), your dog will feel that she has to take the Alpha position back, because you are obviously failing at holding the Alpha position, which just makes her feel more insecure.



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