Adopting a Previously Abused Dog

It is very unfortunate yet true that many dogs rescued from a shelter or from the streets were abused at some point in their lives. They may have been abused physically, by neglect, taken from their mother too young, confined in cages or chained up with little food or water. Their grooming and health needs may not have been tended to or they may have been constantly yelled at daily. Even if the dog is taken into a wonderful, nurturing home, the past abuse may stay with him forever. In this article, we will discuss how to determine the signs of abuse and offer advice on how to deal with it.

An abused dog may exhibit the following traits:

  • Withdrawn and depressed.
  • Distrustful of humans.
  • The dog may cower in a corner.
  • They may be hyper-vigilant.
  • They may tend to isolate themselves.
  • Extreme separation anxiety.

If your dog was previously abused, you cannot expect an overnight miracle due to your loving kindness. It will take some time to see changes. You will need patience. Here are some things you can do to help your dog along in his recovery:

  • Provide a stable and calm place to live.
  • Make him feel loved and communicate clearly.
  • Do not force anything on him.
  • Provide him with his own safe place to be alone if he needs it.
  • Protect him from things that he fears
  • Spend quiet time daily and speak in low tones

When your dog seems ready, use a method that combines desensitization with counter-conditioning. This can be achieved by gradually introducing things that bother your dog but always under your close supervision. With proper training techniques and patience, your dog can learn to become confident and more self-assured.

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