Adopted Abused Chihuahua — Help Needed (11 replies)
We adopted 2 Chihuahuas. The woman from the ASPCA brought the first one, Missy, to our home, and Missy was terrified. She was on the kill list because of this, we were told by the woman. She took her out of the portable crate and handed her to me. I am the wife. I was able to hold her on my lap and pet her. But she cowered the whole time. We asked how long she had had her. We were told 2 years in a crate. She had 3 more just like her and 10 other different type dogs. She was so tiny and pretty — we fell in love and adopted her on the spot. The woman drew up the papers, then we signed and she left.
I still had Missy on my lap with a leash and collar on, so I unsnapped the leash and she darted off my lap and went behind the couch. Now we were to find out what we were in for. My husband and I tried to corral her, and she just kept running from one hiding spot to another. When I caught her under our bed my husband had to push her out to me. She promptly bit me, but I held on and sat down with her cradled on my lap.
In the days to come she slowly attached herself to my husband. But she would have these times while being petted where she would go hide in her bed. Six months now, and we still cannot put a leash on her or any type of controlling behavior. She would not go outside into the backyard — that was too frightening. So we decided to get another Chi for company and hopefully give her more confidence. We called the same ASPCA lady, and she told me she would bring to our home 2 more Chi's.
They were brought in 2 different carriers. I asked to be handed the white one — he was unique and beautiful. He laid on my lap, and I petted and rubbed him all over, and after a while he closed his eyes. We signed the papers and we had our second Chi. The woman left, and I removed the leash and let him go explore. We showed him the doggie door, and he went out instantly. But that was the last time we were to ever be able to touch him again. He will not get close enough to us.
It took a few days, but he started taking treats from our hands. After 6 months he was so close to my husband that my husband was able to lightly stroke his back and Kevin, that is his name, yelped in shock and ran away. Later that day, he started taking treats from us again.
I must mention that I am home with them, and they are hardly ever left alone. When my husband comes home from work, they both go wild with happiness and jump up and down on his legs just waiting for him to sit down so Missy can be petted, while Kevin stays close but safely out of reach. These are our forever dogs, but we wish we could have someone give us advice on how to fully regain their confidence on whatever kind of abuse was to turn these dogs into these fearful little creatures.
Oh that is so hard 😢 Please know you're doing a wonderful job - it takes so much patience when rehabilitating animals, especially when you don't know all of their history. My mother has rescued 2 Chihuahuas herself and I remember it took a long, long time before they were comfortable. One of them is still very timid and likely always will be.
Keep on keeping on with patience and love and that will go a long way.
I'm so sorry to hear about your situation, Venetia. I've never had Chihuahuas but, we have fostered an ex-puppy mill dog. Yes, it is a challenge to gain a dog's trust and it can take a long time. Our foster, Maggie, followed me everywhere and whenever and wherever I paused, she paused, but stayed just out of reach. I sensed from the look in her eyes that she desperately wanted to be loved, petted, cuddled and just be someone's BFF, but experience just wouldn't let her. I kept her leashed so I could take her outside to do her business even though we kept a doggie diaper on her just in case. I think patience is key. I know how frustrating it can be, day after day, waiting for the dog to come to you, but I think it's only a matter of time. I think what you're doing will eventually sink in. Maggie eventually got adopted and I truly missed hearing that leash drag along the floor behind me.
I wish you luck and a heaping dose of patience. Keep us posted!
It was several years ago now; probably close to 8 years if I had to wager a guess. But I know it took at least 6-8 months for Tinkerbell, the most timid, to start feeling totally comfortable. And my mom actually wore a baby sling and carried Tink in it for hours and hours a day! It's tough, but with patience and love you'll get there.
Wow! Thanks for all the support, Melissa.
I really want a large dog to walk with. I have fibromyalgia, and exercise helps. I am hoping that the dog's size will intimidate anyone thinking of doing harm. So if you know of a dog already grown up that is good with Chi's and an old rat terrier named Bilbo, contact me through this forum. I will go to the ASPCA again if needed. No rush. I want the perfect dog that will fit into our already full house.
You'd probably have better luck checking with some rescues in your area - on the forum, we're pretty scattered all over the country. Some of us are even waaaaayyyyy over the pond in Europe!
*waves to Europe*
There are smaller and larger dogs who do well with exercise, so you'll want a breed/mix who can do well with that (not certain breeds who have trouble breathing, such as brachycephalic dogs). There's also the concern that this new exercise companion might not get along with your existing skittish pair and vice versa. Perhaps fostering would be a good start so you can see how it goes. Either way, let us know how it works out.
It takes much time to gain the rehabilitated dog's trust, good luck with it!
Time and Patience! We had a rescued Pomeranian from a Puppy Mill and it took some time... Constant reassurance and attention and he came around beautifully. We had a German Shepherd at the time that immediately took to him. But, it was the unconditional love of my Son who really brought him around and learned how to Trust again. Good Luck!
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