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Discussion in 'Sheltie Chat' started by RobTX, Sep 12, 2017.

  1. RobTX

    RobTX Forums Novice

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    Me and my wife saved a 1yo sheltie a few months ago. We have a 9yo sheltie we love and wanted to get her a friend because after we moved she seemed lonely.
    When we got this dog home she ran and his from us, we spent several months doing every trust execise we have read about but go no results. She would run and hide or lay down a shake.
    When we go inside she runs and plays and is very happy. She eats well, has grown a ton, And LOVES our 9yo.
    I know that shelties can be hard to have a break through with but she is so scared of us.
    Now, she has found a way under our shed and she only comes out at night. She eats and plays with the 9yo but by morning she is back under there.
    I have no idea how to get her out long enough to fill the hole.
    Any help any of you can be would be great, it's been a few weeks of us trying to get her out with no luck.
    We are so happy the dogs get along but want to be able to build trust and help her.
     
  2. Chris

    Chris Premium Member

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    We have many members who have rehabilitated rescue Shelties. Woodbender is especially good -- I've contacted him on Facebook and asked him to respond.

    I just heard from Woodbender -- he'll be on tonight and get back to you.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2017
  3. RobTX

    RobTX Forums Novice

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  4. Woodbender

    Woodbender Forums Enthusiast

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    Rob hi,. Tim Eastman here (aka Woodbender)
    First off,. THANK YOU for bringing on a rescue. Second - it is GOOD NEWS that your two girls actually get along as well as they do so this indicates you haven't wrecked "home" for your 9 yr old. Our girl Claire Bear had a horrific history, long story short, she was really traumatized by the time we got her home here. She would not even eat or drink ANY thing until we all went to bed at night. She would basically be a quaking pile of fur in the corner. The only story and evidence of her past is the eye-witness account of an old couple where she had been dumped on their road with her puppies (later taken by coyotes in a bitter fight which almost killed her too) and her reactions around us unfortunately spoke volumes. Even to this day she barely tolerates a human approaching her dead on or straight at her. Coming in from outside we need our backs turned to her when we're next to an open door so she will come in. Full front on is (was) very threatening to her. We have had Claire in a very loving home for hmmm 2yrs 9 mos. Lately she has made remarkable progress but may always be timid. But at least she is no longer painfully timid with a crushed spirit. You have heard this and heard this but this may take time. Find an area where you can help her be strong in a frightening environment. We still push the envelope with Claire but we springboard off from an area where she is already strong in her confidence. The biggest break through for Claire came when my wife had a very frightening brain tumor surgery looking her in the face and emotions were piling up. Claire completely out of character and her comfort zone got up and WENT TO my wife to try and console her. I had witnessed a deep miracle. She is still very skiddish but she is FINALLY realizing that we are on her side. Do not lose patience and do not lose heart and do not grow tired of doing good! You may be the most peace she has had in her short life.
     
    JacqueZ likes this.
  5. Bailey's Mom

    Bailey's Mom Forums Enthusiast

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    Is she safe under there or do you have concerns that she can be hurt under there?

    If she's safe I'd not push too hard and let her feel safe for a bit. It sounds like she is coming out and playing with the 9 year old and the older dog may be the go between for you and the new dog. Honestly I'd focus your attention on the older dog, treat for good behavior as if she was in fact a new dog to show the new dog that life is pretty good here.

    Our second rescue was quite fearful of everything, although not quite to the point of hiding under our porch, but our older dog was the key to reaching her. He was the one who convinced her the back stairs weren't evil and she could make it safely to the bottom. She would literally tuck herself into his backside when we had to go out in public in those early days to see the Vet, etc. She continued to do that for years when she was nervous, but eventually developed confidence when she wanted to do something that Bailey didn't have the energy/interest to do anymore. Patience is key. Each step is a huge victory. Katy is incredibly treat driven so that was a plus for us, but it doesn't overcome everything. She will always be shy with strangers and we've learned to let her take her time adapting to new situations.

    If the shed isn't a place you want her to retreat can you find a safe place where she can get some safe alone time? Katy has a couple of places she retreats to in the house to get some down time even now when she gets overwhelmed by company. Since Bailey passed she's adopted a couple of private places in the yard for her to be alone, too.

    I do suggest trying to model the behavior you want to see with the older dog. We used to pet, brush, play, etc. with Bailey and treat him for his cooperation even though he was well passed the age where we'd reward him for some of those activities. Katy would watch and she started to want to get involved.

    Even now when she has a little bit of regression we show our younger dog praise and attention for the behaviors we want from Katy and she gets back on board again. The younger one loves the extra praise and Katy remembers what it is she's supposed to be doing.
     
    JacqueZ likes this.
  6. RobTX

    RobTX Forums Novice

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    Thank you both so much for the stories. Truly inspirational! I am so happy to hear the success stories.

    To answer I believe she is safe, thats not as much my concern as the fact that because of it she has almost no interaction with us. If we come out she runs under and stays there. We see her from the window and for a few seconds as she runs away.
    I am not sure how to help her progress if she is not around us.
    She is the happiest dog in the world until she sees a human. Then it is total fear. She does not respond to food at all. She will only eat something put in her bowl and we are not around. We have tried everything from dog treats to chicken. She will not take anything.
    I know it will take time, shelties are that way and when we see her personality come out, from inside, she is a goofball :)
    We are just afraid that the lack of all human interaction is hampering her progess. Are we overreacting?

    Thank you both so much again.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2017
    JacqueZ likes this.
  7. Hanne

    Hanne Forums Enthusiast

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    I'm sure you have good cards at hand, she's only 1 year old, only been with you for a few months and not least you have a good helper in your older dog.

    She apparently only has bad experiences with people in the year she has lived.

    In order to "survive" she keeps herself from people - not you - but people.
    A Sheltie is very sensitive - and therefore requires a lot of time to feel safe in their surroundings.
    NB:
    If one day you have time / desire to read about how far Tim and mama Theresa came with their love and huge patience with Claire Bear - who came to their home in Dec 2014 - many of us followed them closely and got tears in the eyes of joy when there was little progress.
    http://sheltieforums.com/search/7635131/?page=5 and go down the page
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2017
  8. Bailey's Mom

    Bailey's Mom Forums Enthusiast

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    For now as long as she's safe I'd not be too concerned yet clearly her previous I interactions with humans were not pleasant.

    I would over emphasize the positive interactions with your 9 year old so she sees someone she does trust likes you. Katy might not have been sure about us in the beginning but she'd have followed Bailey to the gates of hell. I'm honestly not sure we'd have had our break through without Bailey.

    She will learn she is safe and you are the providers of food, water, and shelter without any pain in return. As someone said Shelties are sensitive creatures. This dog is terrified. It still isn't sure the world is safe. However, it clearly gets along with your older dog which demonstrates a capacity for living with others. Not all abused/neglected dogs can. This should give you hope that with time and patience she will realize you aren't a threat.

    Unfortunately, if treats were used in relation to her fear of humans it might require helping her to associate treats with positive experiences and help her realize bad things aren't coming with every treat. Also, don't require her to take them from you personally until she starts to want them and there is strong enough drive to help overcome her fear.
     
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  9. Silaria

    Silaria Premium Member

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    Thank you for rescuing this little girl. As others have said, it will take time.

    One thing you can try doing is being out in the yard with your dogs but don't pay attention to them. What I mean is, take a lawn chair, turn it so your back is to the shed or where the shed is just in your peripheral vision, and just sit quietly and read or do some other activity that doesn't require a lot of noise or movement.

    When your older dog comes over, make a fuss over it with praise for a few seconds and go back to what you were doing.

    Sure, your little girl will probably hide but chances are she'll also be watching. They learn a lot by watching. Your presence in the back yard, however, will start to become normal in time. If she starts to approach, ignore her; let her come to you. Then only smile and maybe a soft 'hello good girl' and go back to ignoring her. Normally I'd suggest dropping or throwing a treat to her but in dropping one, she'd have to be very close, and throwing it may frighten her. This can be introduced as she comes within arms reach and always as a treat for your older dog and a treat for her.

    Regarding her safety, I know you said she's safe now but winter is coming and that could change the safety scenario. (I'm assuming you live somewhere with cold or rainy winters.) Hopefully you can get her out from under the shed before then.
     
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  10. Bailey's Mom

    Bailey's Mom Forums Enthusiast

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    Great suggestion. One thing we learned early on with Katy is that too much outside stimulation overwhelms her. Even today she prefers to make start contact and she is quite able to tell you when she wants your attention although it was questionable in those early days. We tell visitors ignore her and she'll get curious because she's so used to people making a fuss over her and she runs from that. Ignore her but be open and she will eventually start to approach people. However, don't make a big deal of it if she does. If she approaches you to sniff be calm and still and let her know it is on her terms for now. You won't push it beyond her boundaries.

    I do love the idea of the chair or just being out in the yard doing other things so she accepts your presence there as normal, but you aren't there for her. You are just another part of the environment and she will come to see you as non-threatening. If the other dog comes to you, be positive and welcoming and treat her so the new dog sees it is a pleasant experience not something to be feared, but don't approach her to try to initiate let her come to you. If you are out doing something and she ignores you pay some attention to the other dog and then have another task to be doing out there so she doesn't think you are coming for her. Who knows what being out in the yard meant for her in the past. Clearly it is not something she associates with fun and enjoyment. You can demonstrate you are just going about your day.
     
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