What do you call a dog whose been in foster care for 12 months?
This little dog had BIG fear issues. Mostly of people, outside, cars, noise, other dogs, and well, everything.
In hoarding situations the dogs rarely have human contact so a simple thing like a rub behind the ears can send the dog into panic mode. She's never been touched by humans so why should she trust you?
She's never been outside in all her 9 years and it really is a big, scary world out there. Cars? Never imagined such things. Other dogs? In a hoarding situation she had to fight for food, to protect her puppies, and even for the small spot of bare floor she called a bed. Her whole life was a fight.
In August 2012 she went to another foster home. She was emaciated, shaking, and so fearful she'd explode in barking fits at the slightest movement in the room. Although she was starting to come out of her shell in that home, things happened and she was moved to my home.
I recognized the fear right away. I could see it in her wide eyes as she tracked my movements, her growling as my own dog or cat went anywhere near her, and her tightly curled body. I set up a crate with a soft bed and blanket. Put a dish of water near by and fed her just outside the crate. She barely left the crate for over a week. One day I looked up and she was exploring the perimeter of the room with slow, hesitant steps. A day later she came up to me as I sat on the couch, gave me a sniff and ran back to the crate. Each day brought a little more daring on the part of this little Chihuahua, everyday she relaxed a little more.
We got a trainer for her. This trainer used positive training and things got a little better. She's more relaxed now, will walk on a leash (actually runs to the door now when the leash comes out instead of hiding). She's a great companion dog now with one exception; she barks at company.
I feel this is her last issue. Other than that she's a great dog. As I write this she's curled up by my side on the couch taking a nap. We're working on the barking. She's still up for adoption, but she is one year in my house this month so its going to hurt so much if she gets adopted.
Do I let her go so I can save another?