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Discussion Starter #1
We just recently rescued a former breeder chihuahua who was used purely for breeding purposes mearly because he throws adorable blue puppies (supposedly). The owner said he was "shy" but now that we have him home, we think his being "shy" has nothing to do with personality but feel maybe there was a sense of neglect or abuse.

For example, he is very tense when you touch him or hold him. It takes a lot of coaxing to hold him. (That is, if he doesn't snap at you first..) He hasn't snapped at me, but has snapped at Forrest a few times. Harley cowers in a corner. He runs away. He lowers his head with his tail between his legs.

If you raise your hand to pet him, he instinctively cowers as if to cushion the blow of a hit. I have pictures of him on my camera and will upload them tonight. He looks like this sad, frightened, pathetic dog.

He is six years old.

We have tried to coax him with treats, but he does not have interest in them. The owner said that he will not take treats from your hand. He has also not eaten much in the past few days (which won't hurt him as he's a bit on the portly side anyway).

We want to turn him back into a pet and adopt him back out. But we are unsure of how to do this. Is it even possible? Any advice would greatly be appreciated!
 

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im no expert in the matter but i imagine it will be a long patience testing process....it doesnt take much for a dog to loose trust in people...but it takes alot to gain it back... im certain theres lots of info on the computer from people who have rescued abused animals-and their info from experience might help you out.... just be patient and i wish you guys the best :) and congrats on your new addition and i think its great that you opted to rescue :)
 

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It's going to take alot of patience and love. Try to make every movement slow, so he knows what to expect. Also, don't try to go to him. Let him come to you on his terms. For now, I would just give him treats from the ground. Eventually, you can move the treats closer and closer to you. I do have some personal experience dealing with a chihuahua that was severely abused, and I've found that it's the best to let them come to you when they're comfortable instead of chasing them around trying to pick them up or pet them or whatever. Just let him be for now and let him get used to his new environment. This will probably take months, if not years even for him to come around, but I'm sure you will see improvement as time goes by. When I got my second chi I got it as a gift for my parents. She wouldn't even go anywhere near them at first and she was particularly afraid of males. She now goes up to my dad and asks to be petted. Iit's been about 8 months since I got her and she has improved so much. She's like a whole other dog. So please be patient and just let him relax and know that the pressure's off of him. Good luck! Please keep us posted on his progress.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for your help! I understand about letting him come to us - that makes sense. However, how do we get to him to take him out? Will that be one instance where I have to go to him? Unlike my other dogs, I can NOT let him out without a leash. He will run off and never come back. Even in the backyard, I cannot let him out or he will find a way to hide.

Will that be the only time I should go up to him? Should we set a constant schedule so he'll know what to expect every single day? Do dogs react when they see other dogs being treated a certain way? Like will he see our love for our other chihuahua's and realize that we love chihuhauas and we would not hurt them?
 

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Yes, I would say that you should be able to approach him when you have to take him out to potty. I would just take things very slowly when approaching him though so he knows that you're not trying to hurt him. Maybe come up with some kind of process that you can repeat each time, and in time it will just become second nature to him. I don't know if this would work, but maybe you can lay down the leash so he can sniff it and kind of investigate it on his terms. Maybe you could even put some treats around it and on it, so he knows that the leash isn't something that's going to hurt him. Then, when he relaxes a bit, maybe you could approach him and put the leash on. I was also thinking, until he feels more comfortable, would it be possible to have him pee on potty pads indoors? I totally understand that that's personal choice, but with my chihuahua (the one that was abused) there was just no way we could get to her to put on her harness, so we just used potty pads. Now that she's more or less out of her shell now, we can take her outside to do her business. I do also want to personally say thank you for rescuing this chihuahua. I know it couldn't have been easy, but it's just very heartwarming to see that there are people out there like you that really care for the welfare of animals. Please don't lose hope. He WILL get better in time. I know personally, I got frustrated alot and wanted to give up at times, but I was seeing improvement each day, which gave me hope. Well, good luck. Just know that we are here for you!
 

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when you aproach him aproach low, speak in a soft but happy tone and let him see your hands, just reachign for him will be a spook, rember anything from above is predator behaviour and can be very scary (especially if he is an abuse case)
for the trusting you, just work slow, infact half ignor him.
Sit on the floor with something tempting, hotdog usually works well and just sit there watching tv with your hand out, let him come to you, when he does dont look at him dont even talk to him just let him move to you.
after hes comfortable comming to you with you pretending hes not there start saying good boy in a soft happy tone when he does, again dont look at him dont pet him just let him get used to the voice now being attatched.
Work up to it so now your looking at him when he comes, keep things upbeat and gentle, and finaly as he gets bolder pet him under the chin. (on the head and back can eb a very dominant action on your part and can be very scary)
Slow and steady is going to be the only way to go anywhere with this little man, it sounds like for the most part hes just not been socilized (rather than physical abuse) when it comes time to put his leash on to go outside tell him, again happy upbeat tone "ok potty time" or "time for leash" or "time to go out"
he will soon associate those words with not only the action of going outside to potty but also it tells him ok your going to come over and touch him and its ok and a good thing, use key words when your going to pick him up something as simple as "Up?" or "down" when your goint to put him down. using these key words will let him prepare himself that something is comming but it ends positivly.

good luck!
 

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I would recommend contact a chihuahua rescue, they will have TONS Of information to give you regarding this type of rehabiiltation. Patience is key,as are slow, gentle movements and no staring at him, he will interpret this as a threat so try not to look him in the face, at least until hes more comfortable with your family, Also keep in mind that he is still adjusting, though when adopted out he will go through another adjustment period at his new home and you will have to warn the new owners about that. Also he will eat when he gets hungry, just check is dental condition, because poor teeth, decay etc can cause them to not want to eat much either and also causes other health problems.
 

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first i wanted to say good for you for taking on rescue. i have a rescue that was abused by a child, we've had him for over a year and he still is working on trusting. he trusts me, my mom, aunt and sister. the people he sees all the time.

a few tips i have discovered...

the most important thing i have found with him is consistancy. he has medical problems as a result of the abuse so a simple thing like eatting is very difficult for him, but we make due having the same routine everyday.

it may sound silly but he LOVES soft baby blankets, to hide under especially, makes him feel safe. you might want to try wrapping him in a blanket to hold him on your lap.

at first i would just sit with him and read, either to myself or to him.

just involve him in your everyday life, he'll slowly come around.

it just takes LOTS of time with these guys.
 

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I wish you all the best with your new addition. I had a bull terrier who had an awful life before I adopted her. It's a little bit everyday that makes the difference. It makes me very sad when I hear things like this. I think foxy made some excellent points, I never thought of socialisation could be the problem. Which ever it is, I understand how your feeling and keep us all posted.

at first i would just sit with him and read, either to myself or to him.

I love the idea of reading to him Leeseebat - so cute x
 

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GOD LOVE YOU for taking in this little guy. I had the same deal with my chihuahua that I adopted a few years ago. BEST BOOK EVER IS called "Help for Your Shy Dog' By Deborah Wood.

I worked so hard w/ my little girl - baby steps. But it's worth it!!!
 

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the pink fairy - i got the idea to read to him from another shy dog that i worked with at a shelter i worked for. i would fill in at the office and bring him and one day it was really slow and boring so i just started reading stuff to him and he relaxed and settled into my lap...i was surprized but happy and started reading to shy or feral cats and kittens or shy dogs. i dont know what it is but i've always had good luck with it.
 
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