Rescued 9mo lab with TRAUMA

Discussion in 'Labrador Rescue' started by Eli C, Jan 4, 2021.

  1. Eli C

    Eli C Registered Users

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    This will be long

    Hi. I just joined this forum because I semi-impulsively (only semi because I WAS looking for a dog but wasn't planning on that day to get one) adopted a 9 month old black lab mix (dont know with what yet, the only real indicator that she's mixed is that she isn't solid black, she has white on her chest and belly). She has clearly been VERY mistreated and neglected in her short life and I'm worried for her and want to make sure I don't do anything too wrong in her care.

    I got her 2 days ago and I'm very aware that its way too early for me to know her true personality but I want to get ahead of the game and help her in any way I can. She will only eat if I'm not in the room (the first day she wouldn't eat at all so im calling progress there) and if she hears me coming she will hide in whatever corner is closest and not come out for anything. It seems very much like she's afraid of open spaces because she'll still do it after I've taken her outside for the bathroom (I have to carry her out because she won't walk until she's calmed down and her lead is fully extended away) and sadly yet adorably when she first was brought in the house I turned away for a minute and when I looked back she had found a teeny tiny open cabinet no bigger than she is to crawl into and stayed there for a few hours until she ventured out on her own.

    She hasn't explored at all except outside because I have a fairly large backyard and she looked around out there for close to an hour today. She's had many accidents since I got her, including the first night where she peed while still laying down and then just stayed there in the puddle as though thats what she was used to, but I've made sure not to show any kind of aggravation (not that I'm feeling anything other than sadness to be honest) while cleaning it and her up afterwards so she knows I'm not angry at her. I know its something I'll have to fix but I'm scared to traumatize her further if I go about it in the wrong way.

    She doesn't bark or show a single bit of aggression whatsoever and will flinch away from the smallest movement or sound so any time I go to "her" safe area of the house I make sure to walk easily and start softly saying her name (Bella, which she does respond to) a good few rooms away so she knows I'm coming closer that way she's not startled by me just appearing near her.

    This long winded tale is over and I guess why I'm really here is to know if I'm even doing things right in the first place and if not what do I need to change to make sure she, at a minimum, won't get more stressed and preferably so I can help her move into a happier and safer state in the future? I know this won't be an easy or quick process, but I just could not live with myself to leave her the way she was two days ago.
     
  2. 5labs

    5labs Registered Users

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    Time and patience. Set up a covered crate for her to use as her den. While it's tempting to try to coax her out and keep going to her, leave her alone as much as possible for her to gain trust in you at her own pace x Well done to you x
     
  3. Eli C

    Eli C Registered Users

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    I've got a small room (i'm not sure what its original purpose was in the house) at the back of the house thats about as long and wide as a pretty big crate and thats where she's been staying, is that okay? Its got a door but all yesterday and today she's been laying just outside the room instead on a fluffy blanket (instead of her nice new bed lol).

    Today when I filled her bowl for her breakfast she almost immediately came to me and started sniffing and even LICKING all over me and actually got right up to my face and sniffed my nose and ear and I was so shocked I just stayed there for close to 30 minutes while she just smelled me. I've been giving her space so I really wasn't expecting that to happen any time soon!
     
  4. J.D

    J.D Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Ah well done you for taking on a rescue. That sounds like real progress already.
    I think I would spend periods of time just sitting on the floor in the room and let her do as much sniffing as possible.Maybe with some treats to hand feed. My dog is very wary of people until he has had a good sniff and I ask new people not to try to stroke him(as he backs away) but to just let him sniff them.
    Does the little box room open into a social space? The advantage of a crate is it can be a sanctuary but she would be able to see comings and going’s from that safe space.
     
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  5. Eli C

    Eli C Registered Users

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    It's only me in the house, but yeah there's a "mudroom" of sorts on the way to the bathroom and her room is just off of that so she sees me well before I'm actually near her, and after we've gone outside for the bathroom she'll eat a treat from my hand once she's back on her blanket. I've found a toy that she seems to like and now she won't move around without it.

    Nobody else really comes to the house right now (cause you know... pandemic) so she's not at risk of being overwhelmed but there's a plan for once she's more comfortable for my cousin to come visit and see how she reacts to someone else.

    Sadly when we went out earlier for the bathroom a random dog came into the yard. It didn't do anything and left when I told it to get, but Bella was still spooked and just layed down in a ball for a good 10 minutes before I could bring her inside.

    I'm trying to get her comfortable in other (warmer) parts of the house because her area only has a space heater and its a bit too chilly for me to be comfortable with her staying back there all night, but so far no luck there (I'll sit her down in one room and she immediately walks back to her spot).

    Idk I think her progress in just 5 days is amazing and hope she stays on this kind of upward trend.
     
  6. SianMJ

    SianMJ Registered Users

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    Sounds like progress already. I had a rescue collie from an abusive farm situation, farmer went to jail for it. He had also bitten when frightened. He hid under the table for 2 weeks, he was scared of tv etc, he didn’t like me carrying anything. I tried to become as predictable to him as I could and gradually changed a small things I did around him. I gave him the space and paced things as he needed. He slowly built up trust and confidence. Over the months did a lot of counter conditioning e.g. a kong to lick when passing local primary school. When he could cope also did some clicker with him and he was so pleased to know when he’d done the right thing. He became a lovely boy. I was always careful how people interacted around him and I think he always suppressed some of his emotions/ behaviours but it was lovely to see him change over the years. You both will get there with time, keep up the good work
     

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