Monday, February 22, 2010


I promise I won't tack the word "project" onto everything I do, but this time I will use it in this instance.

Cece has definitely become a big project.

We knew she was skittish (that's for you, Shelli!) when we got her. We knew it would take a long time for her to get used to us. We DIDN'T know she would actually get worse.

Here she is, cowering behind a chair, trying to hide from me and my camera. I got her anyway!

It's really been a struggle to even get her out of her kennel. She will crouch back in the corner and hunker down when we open the door. I have to literally crawl into the kennel, hook on her leash, and do a combination of pulling her leash and lifting her up. 

This gets old.

Oh look! Another picture of her cowering!

Last week, after I dragged her out of her kennel, I walked her to the back door (it had been hours since she'd gone outside.) I was using our plastic handled retractable leash, and lost a hold of it. This noise scared her so much, that she took off all around the yard. The more she ran, the more the leash pounded on the ground, and the more scared she got. It was an endless cycle. I thought I'd try to stop her, so when she ran by, I grabbed the leash cord.

BAD IDEA! The cord wrapped around my thumb about 3 times, and she kept on running. I was positive that my thumb was going to be sliced off.

Well, eventually she stopped. Not sure why, but she did. But not before I lost the feeling in my thumb, and then watched as it immediately bruised and throbbed. Uggghhh.....

Ever since then, Cece has been freaked. She won't come near me, and runs in the opposite direction when she sees either me or Kennedy. 

When we finally corner her, she squats and pees in utter fear.

This gets old.

However, to look in those sad eyes, I know there is nothing I can do but try.

We know she's better off in our home. We know there's a personality somewhere buried behind that cowering, squatting dog.

And she's just cute. And we kind of love her. 

Does anyone have any tips for training this dog? I would love to hear from anyone who has dealt with a problem like this before!


Courtney said...

I'm sorry, I don't have any tips but this post made me sad. She must have been SO abused to be this scared. Keep trying and showing her love, hopefully she'll come around. =(

amy P. said...

i just want to corner her and cuddle her until she's not scared anymore. and, yes, i know that the whole idea of cornering her will probably freak her out more. :( i just love her.

Mandi @ Sweetly Home said...

Hey girl! I just found your blog (love it! We're redoing our home too) and have been reading past posts and came across this one. My heart really went out to you and your sweet pup. If I can offer you a little bit of hubby is a dog trainer and works with problems dogs and such. I love that kind of thing just as much as he - I'd apprentice under Cesar Milan - the dog whisperer - if I could!

The thing about dogs is they always follow their leader - you and your hubby. They take their cues from us - or whoever is the pack leader in your house. She's been spooked by something and sometimes our natural reaction is to coddle and cuddle and pet the dog when they are in that fearful state. But I'd totally caution you against that as it is reaffirming the behavior - cowering, peeing, fearful reactions. Pet and cuddle when he's in a calm state. That reinforces the good behavior. When you approach your dog to take it out of the kennel, walk in a calm, assertive manner. REmember your dog takes its cues from you. If he balks at walking with you, keep your eyes forward, walk tall and strong and keep moving. You have to keep her moving through her fear. If a dog barks at your dog and scares him for instance - keep your eyes focused forward and don't stop walking. When you stop, it puts her in control - and you must be her leader. Also too, it would be great to get him around other dogs - besides just the other sweetie that you already have. Maybe take him to a dog park or a place where other dogs who are calm and submissive to their owners are. Maybe a friends dog?

I want to encourage you to keep on being such great owners to this guy. He may need some help from a dog behaviorist - check to see if there are any in your area.

Here is a video I found on youtube that is with the dog whisperer and fearful dogs. I really hope this helps your sweet pooch.

And a couple of videos of how a woman used her dogs to help rehabilitate an abused Chihuaha who was scared of humans.

Sorry to bombard ya - I'm not a weirdo, I promise! Just a dog lover. :)

Blogging tips