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  #1  
Old 11-24-2012, 01:48 AM
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Default Advice please--Chica afraid of my brother!

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving. I could use some advice from you more experienced chi Moms. Yesterday was our first all family get-together since adopting Chica. Well, as it turns out, Chica is seriously afraid of the wonderful man I consider my brother. A little backround...my big brother Mike (51 years old) joined our family about a decade ago, after my mother became his legal guardian. She had been his mother's social worker and when his mom passed away, Mike had no family left except for a jerk of a brother who didn't want the responsibility (Mike is developmentally challenged, after a car accident as a young child). My brother is such a great guy, so loving and kind and with a great sense of humor, and it's been such a blessing having him in our family . So anyway, Chica has always been pretty wary of men (other than my husband, who she adores), but she seems VERY afraid, for some reason, of African American men. This is very distressing, because we are a multi-racial family (my brother and our youngest child, who we adopted at birth) and we affirm and celebrate all of the beautiful skin tones God has blessed the human race with. Chica has no problems with our youngest child, but every time she has met an adult AA man, she has literally lost it. She barks frantically and shakes, and yesterday she ran into a different room from my brother and stood there cowering in fear. I have never seen her so afraid ! She of course had no way of knowing that my brother is a wonderful man who would never hurt a flea, and who approaches the world with such childlike wonder and joy (he is developmentally about 10 years old). We don't know any of Chica's backround prior to adopting her in April (other than that she was found abandoned in a field), but her terrified response to AA men has been very consistent, so clearly something from her past has led to this particular fear response. It literally breaks my heart to think of what she must have endured to be THIS consitently afraid of AA men! We took things slowly yesterday (no eye contact, he sat on the floor and threw pieces of treat to her, etc.), so that by the end of the day she did approach him once (shaking and cowering, bless her sweet scared little heart) to take a small piece of turkey from his hand. So we did make definite progress, but the problem is we only see my brother a few times a year, so I'm afraid we will be back to square one at Christmas. I would appreciate any advice or tips. Thanks in advance, and thank you for reading this long post.
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  #2  
Old 11-24-2012, 02:18 AM
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Wow Deana, I'm just in awe of how wonderful you & your family are.
Such a selfless, beautiful act to adopt a man in need. And the way
you speak about him, it's just beautiful. Truly shows what kind of
person you are. You touched my heart Deana. The best thing I can
recommend to you regarding Chica is exposure and patience. These
things take time, you are doing it correctly, just let your brother
ignore her completely for a while, so she simply adjusts to him being
there and starts to see him as non threatening. I think you have it
all figured out, just trust yourself, you are a good sister and a good
Chi mom.
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  #3  
Old 11-24-2012, 02:25 AM
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I am sitting here in tears reading this touching post. My sister has cerebral palsy and, while she is high functioning, she will never be independent and able to 100% care for herself. When something happens to my parents, I will step in, but if god forbid something was to happen to me too I could only wish that a family as wonderful as yours would help her. Thank you and your family. You are true heroes.

I agree with LS. With time and patience and positive reinforcement Chica will warm up. Also, seeing you, you husband and children being affectionate with your brother could also help. If she sees how gentle and kind he is with you she may warm up. Chis are very in tune with emotions and receptive of our feelings.


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  #4  
Old 11-24-2012, 02:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ~LS~ View Post
Wow Deana, I'm just in awe of how wonderful you & your family are.
Such a selfless, beautiful act to adopt a man in need. And the way
you speak about him, it's just beautiful. Truly shows what kind of
person you are. You touched my heart Deana. The best thing I can
recommend to you regarding Chica is exposure and patience. These
things take time, you are doing it correctly, just let your brother
ignore her completely for a while, so she simply adjusts to him being
there and starts to see him as non threatening. I think you have it
all figured out, just trust yourself, you are a good sister and a good
Chi mom.
Thank you, LS. Your sweet, encouraging words made my day. Everyone on this forum is so helpful and kind! It's the first and only forum I've ever joined, so I don't know if it's like this on all forums, but I just know how much I appreciate everyone here. You're right--I just need to trust that, over time, Chica will hopefully come to realize that Mike is someone who would never hurt her. A little funny moment yesterday: After a few hours of being there, Chica seemed to at least tolerate having Uncle Mike around. That is until he burped! She growled in his direction and promptly left the room. Then, when he said "excuse me" she peeked around the corner to bark at him once more! That was progress, from the initial cowering in fear, though. At least she felt comfortable enough to tell him off, LOL!
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Old 11-24-2012, 03:02 AM
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We rescued my Fox Terrier , Jackie, we have had her for 15 years now. I got her from a dog pound, the dog catcher told me she was afraid of men..all men. She was scared to death of my husband, it took her about a month to come to him and that is living with her everyday. I have brothers and when they would visit she would run and hide, scared to death. I would pick her up and bring into what ever room we all were together in, long story short it took you about a year to feel comfortable around men. Only thing is I also at the time had a Jack Russell male and she loved him, he went to everyone, so she learned from him who was nice and who wasn't. It might take a long time but Chica will start to trust with all the love your family gives her.
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  #6  
Old 11-24-2012, 03:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pupluv168 View Post
I am sitting here in tears reading this touching post. My sister has cerebral palsy and, while she is high functioning, she will never be independent and able to 100% care for herself. When something happens to my parents, I will step in, but if god forbid something was to happen to me too I could only wish that a family as wonderful as yours would help her. Thank you and your family. You are true heroes.

I agree with LS. With time and patience and positive reinforcement Chica will warm up. Also, seeing you, you husband and children being affectionate with your brother could also help. If she sees how gentle and kind he is with you she may warm up. Chis are very in tune with emotions and receptive of our feelings.


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Aww Ashley, thank you! Your kind words, coming from someone who also had a sibling with special needs, mean so much. I'm going to think positively about this, and choose to believe that over time Chica will warm up to Mike. After all, she did make some definite progress in only one day, and we will be together for a few days at Christmas, so that will give her even more time to learn to trust him. As far as being affectionate goes, that seemed to upset her the most unfortunately. (great advice on your part though, as I can see where generally that would help). My brother is a tall man, with a deep booming voice, and when we hugged hello she was pretty freaked out. When we hugged goodbye though, she just barked alot (versus growling and shaking when we first hugged), so that was good progress at least. She's just going to have to learn to love him though, because I had to wait a long time to finally have a sibling! (I was an only child, and I used to repeatedly ask my Mom, who raised me as a single mother, for brothers and sisters. She said she's "get right on that", but she never did, LOL!). I finally got a brother in my 30's!
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  #7  
Old 11-24-2012, 03:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Evelyn View Post
We rescued my Fox Terrier , Jackie, we have had her for 15 years now. I got her from a dog pound, the dog catcher told me she was afraid of men..all men. She was scared to death of my husband, it took her about a month to come to him and that is living with her everyday. I have brothers and when they would visit she would run and hide, scared to death. I would pick her up and bring into what ever room we all were together in, long story short it took you about a year to feel comfortable around men. Only thing is I also at the time had a Jack Russell male and she loved him, he went to everyone, so she learned from him who was nice and who wasn't. It might take a long time but Chica will start to trust with all the love your family gives her.
That's encouraging to know, Evelyn, that Jackie did eventually warm up to your brothers. I guess it will just take some time. Love the new siggy! Ike in his little Christmas sweater is too cute!
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Old 11-24-2012, 04:01 AM
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Douglas has the same issue. He is terrified of older men. Our only guess is someone was nasty to him at some point. He was a stray like your Chica.

I am glad you wee one doesn't get aggressive though. My boy does. He snarls and snaps and has attacked before when he felt I was in danger. Training has helped tremendously.

He has taken over a month to get comfortable enough with my dad that he allows himself to be touched and picked up. He is still very weird around him.

I suggest you continue positive association. Treats and also make sure she sees you around him in an affectionate way. Call her to you while you are next to him then give a treat. She will come around, even my crazy boy is getting a ton better.
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