Tips for fearful/unsocialized newly adopted rescue

LeifDerekson

New member
Joined
May 21, 2020
My wife and I adopted our first rescue mutt, Maggie, just under five years ago. Taking a guess (DNA test results were inconclusive), she's some sort of wire-haired terrier/maybe shepherd mix, but we like to call her our "super mutt." She's about 35 pounds. She has been wonderful. She's smart, adventurous, happy, obedient (though crazy at times), and a big time couch cuddler. Watching her blossom from somewhat aloof when she arrived in 2015 to what she is today has given us tremendous joy.



Enter Molly, our newly adopted second fur baby. She has been with us since last Monday (May 11). She's around 2-3 years old, roughly 40 pounds, similar . She was found wondering in the woods in a rural part of our state and taken to a local shelter. We learned through her petfinder post and communications with the shelter that Molly was very fearful and unsocialized, but that she did not have any problems with aggression. When we did our first meet and greet, we learned that she had been at the shelter for 1.5-2 years. This particular shelter is well ran and staffed with qualified dog lovers, but it doesn't have a foster program. In other words, Molly had been living in a kennel for all that time.



After learning all of this, we decided that Molly needed someone to give her a chance, and that we wanted her to come and live with us. We knew it would be a challenge, that she would be fearful and take quite a while to adjust, and that we would need to be patient with her. That said, the people at the shelter thought our Maggie would be a great big sister/teacher for Molly, as she's so confident, happy, and social.



Anyway, with that as background, we're just looking for some experience, guidance, encouragement, hope, etc. Molly has been with us for about a week and a half. Not very much time given her first few years of life. She's indeed quite fearful and spends most of her time hiding. A few specific issues we've encountered/would appreciate information about:



(1) crate/sleeping arrangements. We have a plastic crate that we've been using - the You & Me brand Classic Dog Kennel, Large. It seems like it's the right size - not huge, but large enough that she can stand up at turnaround. At the same time, the big old softy in me thinks she should have more space, so I worry. Like I said above, she's a mutt, but I'd say she's around the size of an Australian Shepherd.



The other issue is that we've been keeping her crate in our bedroom, in the corner that is furthest away from our bed. The thinking was that she would feel less isolated and maybe get used to us/feel like a part of the pack faster if we let her sleep in our room. Our other dog, Maggie, sleeps on a doggie bed next to my side of our bed. Molly has been quite loud and fidgety throughout the night. I don't know if she's basically become nocturnal through her years at the shelter/in the woods, if she's uncomfortable in her crate, if she doesn't like being so close to us, etc. We are thinking about moving the crate to our guest bedroom, which is right next to our room. We would leave the doors open so she could hear us, but also hopefully get more sleep when she's not right there making all that noise!



(2) food/eating. Maggie, our first doggo, is about as food motivated as it gets. She chows her breakfast immediately. Molly does not. We've been putting her food bowl on the floor in our bedroom, close to her kennel, and shutting the door. Sometimes she doesn't eat, though, and we really can't leave the food on the floor AND keep the door open so Molly can venture out into the house if she wants. Any tips about feeding a grazer/reluctant eater with a little piggy also in the house would be huge.



(3) exercise. We've found that Molly sort of likes to play around (once we can get her outside) when Maggie plays fetch, which Maggie loves. I will through the ball for Maggie, and Molly will sort of casually follow. Other than that, because Molly is so scared, it's hard to get her to move around much. We want to make sure she gets exercise, though, as it seems to me that this will help with her anxiety.



(4) our general behavior. Molly often cowers when we move around. We've been trying our best to limit our noise levels and move slowly when she's nearby. I try not to maintain eye contact with her and sort of face to the side if I have to approach. Sometimes (read: often) she won't go outside willingly, so we have to leash her up to get her out. When we do, we have to go into her kennel to hook her up. I'm not sure if that's a bad thing or not. Basically, we'd just like to hear people's thoughts about how to behave generally with Molly and around our home while she adjusts.





Thank you for reading this lengthy post! Any information you can share would be much appreciated.
 

linda2147

Member
Joined
Mar 13, 2014
Location
New Hampshire
Several years ago I took in a rescue shepherd that had been badly abused she was the product of a divorce and the husband kept her so the wife couldn't take her and he kept crated for 18 months. she was not your normal shepherd she was afraid of everything, had no idea what toys were and all she knew was the crate. I took a crate and put it in the back bedroom then ignored her. Pretty soon she'd sneak out to see what I was doing, gradually she came out more and more then I took the crate away from her.

I had another shepherd also and the other one more or less taught her how to be a dog. If she didn't want to eat I'd pick up the dish and not offer it to her until the next eat time. They will only hold out for so long, when they get hungry they will eat. Just don't offer her anything else until the next meal. Leave her alone, she'll come to you in her own time. Let her feel comfortable, pay attention to her when she wants it otherwise ignore her. In time she will come around.

Once the dog bonded to me and it didn't take long the only problem we had was I couldn't take her any place she'd get so nervous she'd throw up but as long as she didn't have to get out of the car she was ok. Then she got so when I took the other dog for her morning run in the woods she got to enjoy going. Just give your girl time and space. you can leave the crate open at night in your room if she's uncomfortable she will move. Just be patient with her and don't try to force her to do anything she isn't comfortable with. I'm sure in time she will be fine.
 

linda2147

Member
Joined
Mar 13, 2014
Location
New Hampshire
she was in pretty bad shape when she came to me. Her toe nails were so long and she was skin and bones. She was kind of dumped on me and I couldn't turn her away. I works many hours with her getting her the best she could be. She didn't even know how to bark. Took time but we worked through her issues and she lived out her life with me then I lost her to cancer but at least I knew she had a good life as long as she lived with me.
 

LeifDerekson

New member
Joined
May 21, 2020
Original Poster
Several years ago I took in a rrescue shepherd that had been badly abused she was the product of a divorce and the husband kept her so the wife couldn't ttake her and he kept crated for 18 months. she was not your normal shepherd she was afraid of everything, had no idea what toys were and all she knew was the crate. I took a crate and put it in the back bedroom then ignored her. Pretty soon she'de sneak out to see what I was doing, gradually she came out more and more then I took the crate away from her . I had another shepherd also and the other one more or less taught her how to be a dog. If she didn't want to eat I'd pick up the dish and not offer it to her until the next eal time. They will only hold out for so long, when they get hungry they will eat. Just don't offer her anything else until the next meal. Leave her alone, she'll come to you in her own time. Let her feel comfortable, pay attention to her when she wants it otherwise ignore her. In time she will come around. Once the dog bonded to me and it didn't take long the only problem we had was I couldn't take her anyplce she'd get so nervouse she'd throw up but as long as she didn't have to get out of the car she was ok. Then she got so when I took the other dog for her morning run in the woods she got to enjoy going. Just give your girl time and space. you can leave the crate open at night in your room if she's uncomfortable she will move. Just be patient with her and don't try to force her to do anything she isn't comforatable with. I'm sure in time she will be fine.
Thank you! This is more or less the approach we've been following, and it's really helpful to have some reassurance. Did you originally put her crate in your bedroom, or was it in a room that no one slept in?

Thank you for sharing your story!
 

linda2147

Member
Joined
Mar 13, 2014
Location
New Hampshire
the crate was in the backroom with the door open, when she decided to give up the crate she's slept either on the side of my bed or on the bed itself. l kind of crowded with the other shepherd on the bed and three cats that sometimes sleep there also
 

linda2147

Member
Joined
Mar 13, 2014
Location
New Hampshire
I felt so bad for her, she was a beautiful shepherd, someone paid a lot of money for her only to abuse her. My bet thought was east German lines, and probably expensive. She was such a nice girl, and she bonded to me so quickly probably because I was the only one that ever showed her any attention and love. I've had shepherds for over fifty years but there was something very special about this particular one
 


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