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Harvey
20th February 2008, 04:32 PM
Hi everyone

Its been awhile since i have been on...

We have just taken on a 4 year old rescue Ruby girl - she has a few little personality issues which perhaps you may be able to help with....

She is loving in nature but if you move your hand to pat / stroke her she instantly cowers as though she is worried you are going to hit her... I would really like to make her feel safe so that she doesnt feel this anymore but not sure how to go about it - I have no idea if she has been hit in the past, all i know is that originally she was kept by a breeder but once she got to 18 months old realised that she had problems with her womb and cannot have puppies. She was then sold on to another family who didnt get her Spade and have allowed her to keep having seasons - they then decided that they couldnt keep her....

I dont think they must have walked her much as she is also terrified of leads and will not walk on a lead at all - she just freezes! I was told that she will walk close behind without the need of a lead but i am too scared to try that incase she runs away etc.

She is house trained and seems to be fine with my other cavaliers and cats but is very nervous of people!

I would say that she is over weight and i have her booked in with the vets tonight to have a health check and to ask about being spayed - i'm not sure if this will be affected by her womb issues??

I just hope that with abit of hard work on my part i can get her to feel safe and want cuddles from me and feel happy on a lead enough so that i can take her out on walks!!

Lynn
20th February 2008, 04:39 PM
We just adopted Nora, a puppy farm rescue. She also cowers when we go to touch her. I am TRYING to use words to calm her. (she just came to live with us less than a week ago) When I go to touch her I say 'mumma touch' and when I go to pick her up I say 'up' and when I hook the leash to her harness I say 'leash'. She is learning what to expect and does seem less fearful as each hour ticks by.

I see improvement in her trusting me, so I do think this is working.

hope this helps!

WoodHaven
20th February 2008, 04:48 PM
Many mill rescues have very little positive interaction with humans at all.... They aren't used to getting loving attention. Most of their attention from humans was probably utilitarian. Try not to move your hand where they can't see it. Start with a petting on the chest and see if you can move it around and the dog can still be comfortable.

Ruth
20th February 2008, 04:50 PM
Bless you for taking this poor girl on. Having had many rescues over many years I can reassure you that yes she will come round, but in her own time and she will need a lot of reassurance and love.
Rather than try to stroke her for now, use your voice alot, talk to her all the time even to describing what you are doing. Keep you voice steady and gentle.
All these little ones come with issues and it takes time to win them round to the loving little dogs that we know they are.
It's likely, if she is having problems, that having her speyed will help. One of my rescues had the most horrendous hormone problems and phantom pregnancies and once speyed she was a totally different dog. However, if overweight she will need to lose that before her spey. Do you know when she was last in season?
I would be inclined to try a harness on her but not too soon, there will be an awful lot going on for her just now and she needs to be coaxed slowly and with lots and lots of love.
The last boy we took in still ducks when you go to stroke his head, but not if we pre-warn him by getting down to his level and talking gently first.
Good luck with your little one, she will reward you a thousand fold, she just needs time.

TriTitch
20th February 2008, 09:11 PM
Just to add that when I first got Titch(Hes my second hand man :))he cowered and ducked when my son went to stroke him and it took about 4-5 months for Titch to trust him and to stop ducking,although hes still got one eye open when it comes to strange males entering the house and dosent like to get too near although his tail wags like a good `un!

Harvey
20th February 2008, 09:56 PM
Well i am pleased to say that we went to the vets tonight and he gave her a clean bill of health and recommended that it was a good idea that we have her spade.

He wasnt concerned about her weight (me being over worried as my boys are alot smaller than she is - apparently she is just big boned LOL)

He said i should just take one day at a time with regard to the lead walking problem and cowering issue.

She is curled up next to me and the boys on the sofa right now - my new happy sleepy family!

I will take some pics and post them on here tomorrow!

Lisa_T
20th February 2008, 10:00 PM
I'd keep your hands away from her head, and try scratching her gently under the chin. She may tolerate that better. And have you tried her with a harness - maybe it's the sensation of having a lead attached to a collar she doesn't like? I'd behave as if she's a tiny puppy and train her with lead work from scratch, with lots and lots of reassurance and treats.

Karlin
20th February 2008, 10:08 PM
She sounds lovely! I agree with you -- don't walk her without a lead -- you don;t need to take her on walks til she gets used to the lead and harness/collar. You can do this b leaving them on the floor she gets used to them being around, then let her wear the harness for short periods without the lead and give her treats initially if you need to to get it on and off (at first I'd just try putting it on and off right away, several times a day). You can then add the lead and just walk her a few steps and praise/treat, then take the lead off. Work up to longer periods and when she is ready, take her out. I would never trust a dog in a new home to remain off lead, especially a rescue-- this simply isn't safe; she is not used to you and may bolt and would have no idea where to return to. As Lisa says, take the same approach as with a puppy.

On cowering and ducking -- actually this is *normal* dog behaviour, and is almost never an indication of a dog having being abused or hit. Most dogs do not really prefer being pet on the head and do not like hands reaching for their heads. They learn to tolerate this and even welcome it from people they know as they eventually associate it with attention -- but behaviouralists always say ideally, NOT to pet dogs on their heads. Pat them on the chest instead. A dog will be much, much happier not having hands reaching for its head! All four of my dogs duck when someone reaches for their head (and consider how threatening this must look to a small dog!). None has ever been abused. They simply dislike this type of approach. Also, squat down to her level to give attention, don't bend over her from above, which can also be terrifying especially to a nervous uncertain dog.

There's more great body language info here:

http://www.diamondsintheruff.com/bodylangspaceinvaders.html

but the server seems to be down at the moment as the site isn;t connecting.

TriTitch
20th February 2008, 10:23 PM
On cowering and ducking -- actually this is *normal* dog behaviour, and is almost never an indication of a dog having being abused or hit. Most dogs do not really prefer being pet on the head and do not like hands reaching for their heads. They learn to tolerate this and even welcome it from people they know as they eventually associate it with attention -- but behaviouralists always say ideally, NOT to pet dogs on their heads. Pat them on the chest instead. A dog will be much, much happier not having hands reaching for its head! All four of my dogs duck when someone reaches for their head (and consider how threatening this must look to a small dog!). None has ever been abused. They simply dislike this type of approach. Also, squat down to her level to give attention, don't bend over her from above, which can also be terrifying especially to a nervous uncertain dog.
Oh wow! I must admit Id heard years ago that some dogs dont like being petted on the head ....especially if you are meeting a dog for the first time,it would be preferable to slowly offer at floor level a loosely clutched hand or to scratch the chest but I didnt know that! You learn something new every day :)
Id hate for a dog of mine to learn to be compliant - thats not the way I like to work.

Rj Mac
20th February 2008, 10:24 PM
Congratulations to you, for giving this girl the loving home she deserves :D

TriTitch
20th February 2008, 10:30 PM
Yes Im sorry for going slightly off topic.It takes a special kind of person to take on a rescue.I wish you all the luck in the world for the future and bless you for having such a big heart :hug:

Harvey
21st February 2008, 11:20 PM
As promised please see a couple of photos of our new girl - isnt she gorgeous!!!

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2267/2282787988_0e5631d6db.jpg?v=0

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3174/2282786546_ac0735b785.jpg?v=0

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3041/2282787242_c2faeaeda6.jpg?v=0

mandy4727
21st February 2008, 11:58 PM
I read somewhere that going to stroke their heads or petting them is seen by the dog as threatening behaviour. A dominant dog will do this - you often see the dominant dog as the one who has its front paw and leg over the top of the neck of the other dog when playing or whatever, this is how the dog interprets it when we go to do it. I also read that when playing with the dog you shouldn't let it put its paw over you as it is it's way of trying to dominat you but remove the leg and go back towhat you were doing. Just something I read that was all!!!!!!!!!!

Cathy Moon
22nd February 2008, 12:33 AM
Summer is a beautiful ruby girl. :luv: Congratulations and bless you for giving her a loving home! :)

Cathy T
22nd February 2008, 12:44 AM
She's beautiful! Bless you for taking her in and caring for her.

Neither of mine likes to be petted on the head. They will tolerate it but will duck to avoid it. I always advise people to pet them on the chest, they really prefer that.

TriTitch
22nd February 2008, 02:35 AM
My mums Boxer always tries to put her paw over mine when I am stroking her on the chest.I was told/I read this was a dominance thing and have never let her get away with it.

Ruby is magnificent ! !
Not meaning to bring up the past when she has such a wonderful now home with you but she has not an ounce of white on her! that is prob why she was kept so long and bred so long :(

WoodHaven
22nd February 2008, 02:50 AM
My mums Boxer always tries to put her paw over mine when I am stroking her on the chest.I was told/I read this was a dominance thing and have never let her get away with it.

Ruby is magnificent ! !
Not meaning to bring up the past when she has such a wonderful now home with you but she has not an ounce of white on her! that is prob why she was kept so long and bred so long :(

She is only 4-- and she looks in decent shape (hard to tell from a picture)-- I can see teeth. Some millers breed dogs that are 8, 9 and we even saw a 10 year old that had a litter (with a murmur).
A wholecolor without white isn't that uncommon.

Harvey
22nd February 2008, 09:31 AM
She was kept by the breeder i believe in the hope of breeding from her but never actually did so i am lead to believe as she has problem with her womb.... it was then that the breeder sold her on as she wasnt any use to them i guess

She hasnt got any white on her and is whole colour and i was told that she would have been originally KC registered but knowone had the paperwork.

Even this morning i am noticing her beginning to settle more and more - she jumped up to greet me this morning which she hasnt done before.

I think if i can crack the walking on a lead problem she is going to be the most perfect dog!!! She is so lovely and sweet natured, i cannot understand why anyone would want to get rid of her!!! :-(

barrca
23rd February 2008, 07:21 AM
I took on a 6yr old rescue 6mos ago who has the same issues that you described yours as having.

I petted her under her chin and her chest for months which she just loved.
She felt much better about being able to see my hands.
Fast movements still freak her out so we try to be extra careful about being slothish around her.

She still is afraid of strangers, but after a few hrs with them will come out of hiding and lurk around them.
She fully trusts me, but still is skiddish with my husband and son although she will go to them, she has to think about it, and talk herself into it.
I take her to petsmart 2 times a week to wander around the store and talk strangers into offering her a treat to help her with her socialization.


Karlin suggested squatting down to pet her, which worked wonders for me.
I got on the floor and talked to her softly and reassuring and she eventually came around.

I worked with mine daily with a harness inside the house, and she now walks on a leash like a pro. Matter of fact she gets quite excited when she sees me break out the harness and the leash.

Hope now sits on the couch/chair with me and has recently started laying her head on my lap.

I wouldn't take a chance at letting her out without a leash.
They tend to freak out and lose their heads in a panic.

I think she is absolutely beautiful and will make a wonderful pet for your family.
She just requires ALOT of patience =)

Congrats to you.

murphy's mum
23rd February 2008, 08:56 AM
What a lucky girl she is, she's landed on her feet alright.

She really is stunning to look at;)

*Pauline*
23rd February 2008, 04:47 PM
Oh look at her, she's gorgeous! :luv:

pippa
29th February 2008, 08:35 AM
Well done on taking her in. She is beautiful. On the petting, Gus loves to be petted on the head but Pippin hates it and we have had him since 8 weeks old, he has never liked it and will still duck even though he is 4 yrs now..he prefers under his chin or behind his ear.

Theresa
29th February 2008, 09:02 PM
Your new girl is lovley! Congratulations! On a slightly different note, I wondered where you lived as we live in Hampshire too! We are in Portsmouth. :)