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Old 10-02-2010, 03:48 PM   #1
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Default Yorkie is afraid and trembles when she sees me. What should I do?

I have a Yorkie mix that was recently hospitalized coz of dehydration and a very high ALT. I posted a thread on this in the Emergencies page. She had problems because of the heartworm treatment (proheart shot), rabies vaccines, distemper vaccines and 2 other vaccines given to her in the same day by the vet. I got her 3 weeks ago, she's a rescue dog that's around 3 years old. She showed signs of being abused by the previous owner, and she is generally well behaved and will potty outside, but I've noticed she's more used to the garden and scavenging than being an indoor animal. She is very nervous and jumpy around people and tends to bite my house guests.

Recently, she started to warm up to me and my home. THis started when she came back home from the vet. We've actually given her tons of love and affection when she got back, sometimes to the point of babying her. Given her heart condition and previous life, it's hard not to shower her with as much love and affection. Anyways, long story short...

Last night I went out for dinner for a few hours and left her with the maids. They don't abuse her or yell at her because they love her as much. She initially warmed up to the maids before me or my brothers coz the maids were the first to see her and play with her. When I got home, everything seemed normal. I did notice she was a bit jumpy and would bark when I played this movie with people talking.

I brought her to my room so she could sleep, while I fiddled with the computer. I did buy her some new toys that I don't think she liked coz she would put them on her crate and start pushing them with her nose. She eventually fell asleep so I sat on the floor and started petting her. She turned to her back allowing me access to pet her chest and tummy, which she loves, so I did. Then I don't know what I did or what she saw coz it happened so fast. All i was doing was rubbing her chest and tummy as she fell asleep and i started to yawn. I don't make loud noises when I yawn, just open my mouth and yawn. This startled her i think. It totally freaked her out so she started to growl and bark at me. This of course scared me coz I've seen her bite, and I don't know if she's developing rabies or something. At first I was begging her/ pleading her to stop barking but this made her angrier, so I stood up and she jumped to the bathroom and barked some more. By this time I was already yelling her name, yelling for her to stop but she wouldn't. She peed a little too while in the bathroom. I turned around and left immediately and asked my dad for help. She seemed fine when I came back in coz she's afraid of my dad as well. She only follows 3 people around, me and my 2 maids. I live with 5 other people, my parents, 2 brothers and another maid. So as far as our home is concerned she's still getting accustomed to the others.

I then went downstairs with her and when I sat on the couch she growled and barked at me again. This time I didn't yell at her anymore. I just asked her to stop, but by this time she wouldn't come near me anymore. She would cower and shake when I try to pet her and carry her.

I gave her some space so I went upstairs and since she didn't want to follow, I left her alone downstairs. I gave her an hour then I went downstairs again, this time she trembled upon seeing me, the same trembling she does when there's a thunderstorm. She would not come near me and she would hide from me. I carried her to my room to sleep and she did go into her crate. I don't know if she slept, I know I didn't sleep all night. This morning when I woke up she was already awake. I don't think she slept at all, and at first she was all excited to see me then i bring her downstairs again, things changed again. It's like she's afraid to look at me, like she's so afraid of me that she couldn't pee or poop in front of me. I'd be lucky if she eats something today, given that she's already a picky eater.

What should I do?? I didn't know what to do when she barked and growled at me like as if she didn't know who I was. SHe looked at me like I was a complete stranger and that scared me coz I've read about dogs that go crazy and stuff. She's already difficult coz of her past so I got really frightened. I've asked the maids to ignore her and allow her to only respond to me. This has helped sort of coz when they're around she coughs, I don't know if it's real cough or just pretend cough. THey ignore her, so when I called her to come up she did. But she's still afraid of me.

Will she ever give me her trust again? What should I do to change this behaviour towards me? Should I continue to ask the maids to ignore her or give in to what she wants? She looks at them like they're her saviours. They're there to save her from me. Should I ignore her as well?

It took me weeks to get her to follow me around and it took a long time for her to start squeezing herself near me when on the couch. Now it's like I've given her only fear. It's like none of the things we've done together ever mattered. She's very volatile and unpredictable. I don't know how to handle her.

Please help. THANKS.
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Old 10-02-2010, 07:07 PM   #2
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Wow, there is a lot going on here. I'm not quite sure how to respond.

In the short term, most dogs will respond if you lie down on the floor and toss them treats.

Longer term, it can be extremely difficult to rehab a fearful dog, not to mention one that bites. I would strongly suggest hiring a trainer who uses positive reinforcement to help you work with her. You can also do research on the web. There is so much that comes into play: body language, training, managing her aggression and patience, patience, patience.
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Old 10-02-2010, 10:58 PM   #3
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Wow, there is a lot going on here. I'm not quite sure how to respond.

In the short term, most dogs will respond if you lie down on the floor and toss them treats.

Longer term, it can be extremely difficult to rehab a fearful dog, not to mention one that bites. I would strongly suggest hiring a trainer who uses positive reinforcement to help you work with her. You can also do research on the web. There is so much that comes into play: body language, training, managing her aggression and patience, patience, patience.
Thanks. I have contacted a few trainers and they tell me to ignore her. I don't know how much I should ignore her but all they keep saying is ignore her. She's afraid of me and I'm wondering if ignoring her will only result in her fearing me even more coz I don't show that I'm trying to comfort her.

She confuses me a lot right now though coz she'd lick my feet, lick my hands, even wag her tail when she sees me but the instant she looks at my face, it's like she can't look at me. She can't give me eye contact and she'd cower when I try to pet her. She's showing me submissiveness but only coz she's fearful of me. when i get off from bed, she's fine, then i sit on the floor, we're not ok again. I walk downstairs with her, she's fine, then I sit on the couch, she can't bear the sight of me again. and she tries to sit far far away, then later on she'll sit by the couch near me while i'm sleeping. I try to put her on the couch and she'd cower again. It's like this over and over. When i'm alone, she follows me around, when the maids appear or when she hears them, she can't wait to get rid of me and she starts pacing so she can go to them. If I move and stuff, she'd get startled.

I know this is all my fault for being stupid enough to pet her while she was asleep and yawning in her presence, and then yelling at her when we both got frightened of each other. But I really got frightened coz she just looked at me like she didn't know who I was. It was that connection that scared me a lot. She looked like a mad dog that didn't trust me enough to be comfortable with whatever I was doing. I frightened her that much, to the point that she peed a little. It breaks my heart to think that she thought I was even capable of hurting her like that.
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Old 10-03-2010, 06:03 AM   #4
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Ignoring unwanted behavior is good because if you don't, then the result would be to encourage it, in her mind.

You also must try to get past this. Dogs live in the moment, she's reacting to what is going on now. You have to forgive her and yourself and pretend it didn't happen. If you're nervous, she'll sense that and respond to it. You must be calm around her.

Just ignore her for now, go about your day to day business. Get a routine of feeding and taking care of her needs, and do it all without emotion. Just do the basics, when she begins to realize you're not going to harm her, she'll get bored and slowly try to get next to you again.

This is a critical time. If you react to her growling, she will learn that she has power over you. You want to avoid that. You must also get over the fear of being bitten. Even if she did bite you, and you contracted Rabies, you would get shots to cure it. So getting bit will not kill you.

I once had a terrible fear of snakes. I would get weak in the knees, start shaking all over, break out in a sweat, and just about pass out. When I worked for a vet, I asked one of the clients, who bred snakes, what was the best way to get over my fear. He said to come out to his place of business and he would teach me to work with his snakes. I started working with the baby snakes. The bad thing with babies is they perceive themselves as prey, and tend to bite more often than grown snakes. The good thing was that their bites would not kill me.

I thought about this long and hard... he was right. I wasn't afraid of the snakes themselves, but of death by snake. It took a few weeks for my mind to accept this. The next step was to learn how to react to a bite. The goal was to be completely non-reactive. Yeah, right. The first bite had me shaking again and all my irrational fears returned. But as I continued working with the babies, that fear subsided. I could take a bite, and laugh it off. I would bleed a bit, it hurt a bit, but I knew I wouldn't die from it, and that's when my fears subsided.

And just an FYI: The breeder I worked for was the first person in the world to successfully breed Albino Boa Contrictors, and at that time one snake would sell for $10,000.00. He went on to breed Piebald Ball Pythons, and was the first to prove that the piebald coloring was genetic. These sold for $25,000.00 each. Very interesting job.

Sorry about that, now back to your dog. Sounds like she may have spent some time on the street, where she had to rely on her instincts to even survive, or that she was never tamed. This will take time. Just accept her as she is for now, and remove any expectations of how you would like her to be. That will all come in time and it may take months. So you have a dog that's a bit on the wild side, not too friendly, nervous, and unreliable. That's okay. To expect more of her right now will only cause you to be frustrated. Do what you can to be her friend, and don't do what you can't, and accept it for now. If it makes you feel better, look for things around the house that you could use to block any attempt of hers to come after you. This will help put your mind at ease until any unpredictable behavior ceases.
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Old 10-03-2010, 07:26 AM   #5
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Thanks yet again KJC. Your posts are very informative.
Today I did pet her and carry her and stuff. There was a thunderstorm and she is afraid of those. She will tremble all over when she hears thunders. So when this started I knew she'd want me to carry her or comfort her. So i sat on the couch, and she immediately jumped on the couch and squeezed herself next to me. I didn't baby her like i would but i did nudge her and patted her back just to let her know I'm next to her and she shouldn't worry. Was this wrong? Should I have kept her on the floor and not have shown any concern?

I try to be emotionless and do my thing quietly, call her during feeding time. Not make a big fuss over her. But when she starts to play and when she does something good, I do pet her and tell her she's been a good girl. Is this wrong also? Should I not show any kind of emotion or react to her in any way?

She didn't sleep in my room tonight coz she was ignoring me, we were fine and she would come to me when i called her but when i was lying on the bed she saw something again. So she started to hide from me. She doesn't bark or growl at me anymore but she is very very afraid of me. So when she ignored me, I brought her crate to my brothers room, we were in his room when she saw something in my face again. She's sleeping there tonight. and i'll just feed her tomorrow.

What signs will I have to watch out for in order to see that I can go back to being normal around her and that i can start showering attention and affection?

Thanks.
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Old 10-03-2010, 09:23 AM   #6
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I'm going to recommend again that you get a trainer who will come to your house and work with you on a regular basis. It sounds like you don't have a lot of experience with fearful dogs, and you will need to learn a lot to take good care of her.

For instance, many dogs won't make eye contact: it's considered challenging. I would not try to look her in the face at all. You should also move slowly around her. Don't bend over her or try to pat her on the head. Keep your body turned away from her.
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Old 10-03-2010, 09:53 AM   #7
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I would strongly suggest a trainer. Also try to find one that may have some experience with this or one that may even specialize in it.

I am not a trainer by any means but I can tell you the experience I had growing up with a rescue dog.

When I was a child we adopted a puppy from the pound. He was only 4 months and was abused and afraid of everyone and everything. When we brought him home he would run and hide, shake and bark. When he acted this way we gave him space. Not really ignoring him but let him go off to were he felt safe and just sat in the same area. Then when he would come out we still just waited. We would let him come to us, on his own time. When he did come over we did not try to pet him or raise our arms (if they are abused they may not your trying to show love, they may think you are going to hit them) we would just let him sniff us and around us. Talk to him in a soft gentle voice telling him he is a good boy. This went on for a long time. Slowly he would get more comfortable and we would pet him and give him treats. We had to earn his trust. He was always skidish around new people and anyone wearing a hat but after a long time he came around and become of the the best loving dogs anyone could ask for.

I recommend staying very calm when they start barking and shaking. Sensing that you are anxious may only make it worse. Good luck and I hope this helps.
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Old 10-03-2010, 10:06 AM   #8
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I also have a very shy yorkie. I would recommend buying this book it is very helpful and has helped me with my fearful dog. Amazon.com: Help for Your Fearful Dog: A...Amazon.com: Help for Your Fearful Dog: A...
Polo is the type that when I try to go pick him up he runs away and he never really likes to come to me. And he was scared of the leash would run away whenever I brought it out, but finally now with the help of the book He will come and touch his leash so I can hook his leash on and take him outside.
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Old 10-03-2010, 12:33 PM   #9
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I am so sorry your having this trouble. I hope she warms up to you again. I would do what the trainers tell you. I hope in time it helps.
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Old 10-03-2010, 03:36 PM   #10
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Hi guys, thanks so much for your replies.

If she likes to go to the maids and play with the maids, should this be allowed? or will this only make her ignore me and fear me even more coz she doesn't see any interaction with me?

When we got her she's always followed the maids around so I'm thinking she probably thinks the maids are her master and we're just guests or strangers. So for me to not confuse her about that, can the maids call her and play with her like they did before this incident? She's fearful but a week before this incident she's been doing fine with us, playing, being naughty, trying to chew on everything except furniture. She became bolder around the maids and i. So we were carrying her around, playing with her, and doing everything normal. Can the maids do that or should they also do what i'm doing? She's only afraid of me and not the maids.

Today I went to my brother's room to check on her and she immediately came up to me all excited so i played with her and stuff, but this was before i read your posts so I didn't know I'd have to wait 5 to15 minutes and still ignore her. Then I went to the bathroom and when i sat, she gave me a good look and saw my face again and immediately lowered herself and sat on a corner. I cannot really see if she was trembling or not but she usually sits when she's afraid of something. so i ignored her and left the room.

I have spoken to dog trainers. 2 actually, 1 was not that helpful coz all he told me was to ignore her and i dunno how I ignore something that's living and following me around and stuff. The other told me to give her a safe environment or space in the house where she could hide and she told me to avoid looking at her while i play with her or feed her. She told me not to hover and stuff, but still play with her and pet her once in a while.

i'm ok with ignoring her and stuff. I want to go out and do things for myself too, but i don't know how the maids are supposed to treat her. My main concern is they don't know how to deal with this incident and her personality and they might do their own thing with her and end up making it more difficult for me to alleviate this problem.

So please let me know how we're supposed to deal with this. Treat it this way: She's afraid of some people in the house and not others. But everyone of us live here and we all want to play with her and see her come around.

I don't want her to recognize the maids as her masters coz if they leave, then I'd be stuck with a depressed dog who'd think she'd been abandoned. She's gone through enough of that. She knows she has to follow me around. But if you let her choose she wouldn't. She barks at my mom, is afraid of my dad and my brothers. So do we all do your recommendations with the dog, including the maids?

Thanks.
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Old 10-03-2010, 04:04 PM   #11
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Again I am not a professional trainer but this is how I would handle it. If she is coming right up to you excited and ready to play, go with it. Be slow, do not make any sudden moves that may come of as aggressive to her. I certainty would not ignore her if she is willing to go to you.

As far as the maids go, establishing who is their "master" is pure animal instincts. She may just feel more comfortable around them since they are around more. If you want to be their master you have to make your self the alpha. Usually a male takes this on but can be achieved by a female as well if you do it the right way. You have to show them you are the dominate one of the pack (the pack leader). Two great ways to bond with your dog if 1: Walking them. It is so beneficial, everything with confidence, exercise to making them feel like more of a pack with you. 2: Playing with them. If you have a softer toy that you can hold one end and they pull the other. The dog will usually thrash the toy around and growl. The first time I saw Star do it I got really concerned that she was being mean, so I did some homework and found that its the instincts to act like that. Like they are killing an animal with you. It forms a bond. If you are worried that the maids are spending to much time with her, then get a crate if you do not already have one and put her in there for some of the time. Not all day, she should be able to interact with them.

The trainer that told you she needs a safe place is complete right. A crate is a great thing for them. Leave it open and easy for her to get to at anytime. Making it really soft with blankets and putting a sheet over it makes it even more comforting to them. I highly recommend that. I would also recommend reading about the roles that animals play in the packs. It really gives tome insight on why they act the way they do. Here is a great version. Alpha (ethology) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 10-03-2010, 05:12 PM   #12
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I have a Yorkie mix that was recently hospitalized coz of dehydration and a very high ALT. I posted a thread on this in the Emergencies page. She had problems because of the heartworm treatment (proheart shot), rabies vaccines, distemper vaccines and 2 other vaccines given to her in the same day by the vet. I got her 3 weeks ago, she's a rescue dog that's around 3 years old. She showed signs of being abused by the previous owner, and she is generally well behaved and will potty outside, but I've noticed she's more used to the garden and scavenging than being an indoor animal. She is very nervous and jumpy around people and tends to bite my house guests.

Recently, she started to warm up to me and my home. THis started when she came back home from the vet. We've actually given her tons of love and affection when she got back, sometimes to the point of babying her. Given her heart condition and previous life, it's hard not to shower her with as much love and affection. Anyways, long story short...

Last night I went out for dinner for a few hours and left her with the maids. They don't abuse her or yell at her because they love her as much. She initially warmed up to the maids before me or my brothers coz the maids were the first to see her and play with her. When I got home, everything seemed normal. I did notice she was a bit jumpy and would bark when I played this movie with people talking.

I brought her to my room so she could sleep, while I fiddled with the computer. I did buy her some new toys that I don't think she liked coz she would put them on her crate and start pushing them with her nose. She eventually fell asleep so I sat on the floor and started petting her. She turned to her back allowing me access to pet her chest and tummy, which she loves, so I did. Then I don't know what I did or what she saw coz it happened so fast. All i was doing was rubbing her chest and tummy as she fell asleep and i started to yawn. I don't make loud noises when I yawn, just open my mouth and yawn. This startled her i think. It totally freaked her out so she started to growl and bark at me. This of course scared me coz I've seen her bite, and I don't know if she's developing rabies or something. At first I was begging her/ pleading her to stop barking but this made her angrier, so I stood up and she jumped to the bathroom and barked some more. By this time I was already yelling her name, yelling for her to stop but she wouldn't. She peed a little too while in the bathroom. I turned around and left immediately and asked my dad for help. She seemed fine when I came back in coz she's afraid of my dad as well. She only follows 3 people around, me and my 2 maids. I live with 5 other people, my parents, 2 brothers and another maid. So as far as our home is concerned she's still getting accustomed to the others.

I then went downstairs with her and when I sat on the couch she growled and barked at me again. This time I didn't yell at her anymore. I just asked her to stop, but by this time she wouldn't come near me anymore. She would cower and shake when I try to pet her and carry her.

I gave her some space so I went upstairs and since she didn't want to follow, I left her alone downstairs. I gave her an hour then I went downstairs again, this time she trembled upon seeing me, the same trembling she does when there's a thunderstorm. She would not come near me and she would hide from me. I carried her to my room to sleep and she did go into her crate. I don't know if she slept, I know I didn't sleep all night. This morning when I woke up she was already awake. I don't think she slept at all, and at first she was all excited to see me then i bring her downstairs again, things changed again. It's like she's afraid to look at me, like she's so afraid of me that she couldn't pee or poop in front of me. I'd be lucky if she eats something today, given that she's already a picky eater.

What should I do?? I didn't know what to do when she barked and growled at me like as if she didn't know who I was. SHe looked at me like I was a complete stranger and that scared me coz I've read about dogs that go crazy and stuff. She's already difficult coz of her past so I got really frightened. I've asked the maids to ignore her and allow her to only respond to me. This has helped sort of coz when they're around she coughs, I don't know if it's real cough or just pretend cough. THey ignore her, so when I called her to come up she did. But she's still afraid of me.

Will she ever give me her trust again? What should I do to change this behaviour towards me? Should I continue to ask the maids to ignore her or give in to what she wants? She looks at them like they're her saviours. They're there to save her from me. Should I ignore her as well?

It took me weeks to get her to follow me around and it took a long time for her to start squeezing herself near me when on the couch. Now it's like I've given her only fear. It's like none of the things we've done together ever mattered. She's very volatile and unpredictable. I don't know how to handle her.

Please help. THANKS.
In reading your post all I can think of is she was abused by a woman in her previous home. When this happens sometimes we can trigger a memory same as it happens with people. It will take a lot of time and patience on your part to get her to trust people especially you that's where it has to start. Good luck keep us up to date.
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Old 10-03-2010, 06:06 PM   #13
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Again, you are providing a lot of information, which is great, but it's hard to respond to it all.

Let her bond with the maids. The more people she likes, the more comfortable she will be.

Do not worry about being her "master". This is very easy to accomplish. Before you feed her, have her Sit for about five seconds. Don't put her bowl down until she has "four on the floor." If you control the food, you are the Boss.

While I agree that walking is a great way to bond, I disagree that males are typically the leader. There is a lot of controversy as to whether dogs actually order themselves as "alpha", "beta", etc. The studies that suggested this were done quite a while ago on unrelated wolves forced to live together in limited space. This is not a natural environment for them. Also, even in these wolf packs, there was both an alpha male and an alpha female.

Another fun way to bond is through trick training. Teach her to Sit, Stay, Down, Up, Touch (with her nose), Leave It, Drop It, etc. These should be pure pleasure for your dog: they teach her that human behavior is meaningful; she gets food; she bonds with you; and she learns what's expected of her, which provides order in a scary world.

I know you've said you've spoken to two trainers, but you need to find one that will come to your house and work with both you and your dog. Biting is a very serious behavior problem, and you need to have a good long term plan in place to deal with it.
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Old 10-03-2010, 07:13 PM   #14
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Thanks for all your recommendations. Sorry, Quicksilver... I do have a lot going on here. There are a lot of us in the house. And I have 2 floors. She pees in areas that have carpets and rugs so we have to always keep an eye on her. Pottying was difficult, you see. She's used to being left alone outside I think, if not being caged all day. So she pees and poops outdoors alone and is afraid of pottying in front of us. She's only starting to potty in our presence so I don't want to correct her on that just yet. There are a lot more things she's only starting to show so everyday is different. This incident set it back for me coz she already follows me around and trusts me then my mistake changed her demeanor towards me.

Anyways, I'll try all your suggestions and I'll let you know how it turns out.

And I totally agree that I have to have a trainer that'll come over. She's comfortable in our place and we need the training where she's more likely to show her true personality. Problem is I don't know which of them can come over. Dog trainers here are hard to find. Some just pretend to be trainers and are in for the money. So you can imagine how difficult it is for me.

Thanks again. Please any other suggestion you can think of, please let me know. I visit this site everyday.
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Old 10-04-2010, 06:33 AM   #15
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Join Date: May 2009
Location: Baltimore, Maryland
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One last idea. Many times when people get a new puppy or dog, training begins with confining the dog to 1 or 2 rooms of the house, or when housetraining has to be renewed. As they gain control, access to other rooms is allowed gradually. You could start her off in your bedroom and an adjoining room. Have you tried using peepads with her? That would be another option.

This would give you more control over her and remove some of her options... seeking out other people.
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