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Customer Discussions > Dogs forum

Adopted Rescue Puppy Mill ToyPoodle-Need Experienced Advice

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Showing 1-25 of 58 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 30, 2010, 6:03:16 PM PST
MoonSinger says:
I previously had a toy poodle & malti-poo bought from a breeder. This is my 1st rescue dog. (Got her a/b a wk ago.)

She is so sweet but I am feeling very uneducated/helpless about how to train her or do anything with her. I've been trying to find a forum esp for rescued puppy-mill dogs & "how to's" on everything, esp would like to find a poodle discussion.

She is precious, estimated @ a year old but really seems to have no idea "how to be a dog"...doesn't run or play, can't potty or leash train, afraid to walk on grass, doesn't show interest in toys, hides her treats, etc., etc.

Any help finding experienced online group to get advice from would be very much appreciated! Thank you!

Posted on Nov 30, 2010, 6:40:47 PM PST
Andrea says:
Just treat her like a newborn baby. Poor thing, seems like it will take a while until she could truly trust anyone. Pour some love and patience on her. Poodles are very smart.
She has learned to not trust, now, she has to learn she CAN trust. Go easy, easy, easy.
Praise the behavior you want. DON'T scold for bad behavior. Dogs do want to please.
Teach her about love. Poor thing, I had a poodle that had been abused. She'd run under the bed everytime we got home. She came around after some time. Just took a while.
Good luck with your new baby. Patience is a virtue.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 1, 2010, 8:13:25 AM PST
zohrya says:
Check out the dog whisperer site on yahoo sites. Lots of good info from here.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 1, 2010, 10:09:18 AM PST
Jerrie Brock says:
Moon Singer
From a lot of rescue dog experience, but not poodles, one thing I have learned is that we humans make fatal errors in understanding our dogs. When they appear afraid of some thing, we try to comfort them as we would a human. Oops! Do not cuddle over her when she won't walk on the grass and try to encourage her. Just wait patiently until she walks on the grass herself, then give her some reward and pet her generously but not overly enthusiatically. Keep your voice even as you do. Do things in small steps. If you can get the leash on her in the house and get her to walk a few steps, then the same, a small treat and pat with a good girl. If your treats are not seeming to entice her enough, try hot dogs. Don't know why but it seems like almost a sure fire response treat, even with dogs not particularly motivated by food. But limit them to only when she has performed some small feat, never for no reason and never as a lure.

Do not give her enough treats that she can hide them, or give her so many toys that she can. It is probably overwhelming her since she is unaccustomed to being lavished with things. One or two only, see what you can get to attract her. Maybe a flashy ball. Roll it, if she takes an interest, even a sniff, then once again, a small treat and gentle response. If she jumps or runs away, just ignore her. Do not go try and coddle her because you feel guilty. She won't understand that, she will think that running away was the response you wanted. As she increases her interest, then increase your response, particularly verbally and petting. Always wait for a desired action, do not try to entice or force her or acknowledge her fears or undesirable actions (hiding treats/toys).

As for potty training, it probably will require some consistency. Feed her, take her out 30 minutes later. If no luck, take her in again, and try in another 15 minutes until she goes. As she starts, use some phrase, "Good Girl, you went potty" (I know sounds silly but she will make the connection). When done a nice pat, possibly but not necessarily a treat. Eventually you should be able to ask and she will respond, but it is some times tedious. Same with peeing, you may have to restrict her water intake for a short time but she will probably pick it quickly because poodles are usually quick witted.

Most of all, as I said, watch that you are not giving attention for her fearful behavior, the hiding, the refusal to walk on the grass, etc. Believe it or not, that will actually reinforce those fears. It took some while to get my dog over the fear of loud noises because when he was young and he ran to me whining, I picked him up and comforted him. It was only later I learned I had made it worse as time went on so that even something falling made him nervous. Eventually I had to just ignore him when he came dashing over shaking. I did say its okay, no big deal, but in a dismissive tone. After awhile, he would go lay down, and then I would go to him and pet him. He no longer even bothers to get during a thunder storm, but I always make sure to get up at some point and just give him a scratch. We are both happier.

Hope this helps some

Posted on Dec 1, 2010, 10:51:20 AM PST
LAURA28 says:
Having a rescue dog as a part of my life I know the feeling. He had no idea when I first got him what a leash was, no idea even what a walk was either. I took him out when I first got him home for a walk, for some bonding. He didnt get far from the front porch, and just sat there and looked at me. I had to slowly allow him by showing and praising that walking was a great thing! And so where the many other activities we did. He was also terrified of car rides, now he makes me take him on a ride after every walk he runs straight over to the car, and with as cute and as much as I love him, I can't say no! Just give your new pal lots of love, patience, training and time, and you will reap the rewards of your new friend!:)

Posted on Dec 3, 2010, 12:50:35 AM PST
MoonSinger says:
Thanks to all of you for your support & ideas. I've been trying them all...slowly but surely, we are getting there. I've been sick a lot & we've been together almost 24/7. I did run 2 brief errands & had to leave her at my apt in a crate. When I got home (less than an hour later), she was pitifully it possible that I am making her too dependent on me?
Again, thanks everyone....any additional comments appreciated! (:

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 3, 2010, 2:09:37 PM PST
Book Maven says:
I rescued a Standard Poodle at 6 months old and coming from the mill he didn't even know how to walk. Like yours, he was also afraid of... well... everything.

The number one thing with a rescue, is time. It seems hard at first, especially as weeks one and two go by, but slowly, they will respond, learn, and move on.

As mentioned above, also learning yourself how not to comfort fears. It was hard for us to try and also explain this to family and guests, but you can't reward their fear. That whole post actually said exactly what I would have.

At 3 years old, later this month, mine still has fears. We've been remodeling our home and the banging has made him stick to my side like glue... and he still has issues with strange men, but slowly, they DO get better. Dogs don't really live in the past, only we do. She is ready to move on but just needs time to learn. If you know of a really good "pack leader" gentle fatherly(or motherly) type dog sometimes that can help to. Sometimes, Dogs learn best from other dogs... you just want to make sure the other dog has the behaviors yours needs to learn and no more :)

Just give her time. Trust me, she'll come around!

Posted on Dec 3, 2010, 2:09:57 PM PST
Book Maven says:
I rescued a Standard Poodle at 6 months old and coming from the mill he didn't even know how to walk. Like yours, he was also afraid of... well... everything.

The number one thing with a rescue, is time. It seems hard at first, especially as weeks one and two go by, but slowly, they will respond, learn, and move on.

As mentioned above, also learning yourself how not to comfort fears. It was hard for us to try and also explain this to family and guests, but you can't reward their fear. That whole post actually said exactly what I would have.

At 3 years old, later this month, mine still has fears. We've been remodeling our home and the banging has made him stick to my side like glue... and he still has issues with strange men, but slowly, they DO get better. Dogs don't really live in the past, only we do. She is ready to move on but just needs time to learn. If you know of a really good "pack leader" gentle fatherly(or motherly) type dog sometimes that can help to. Sometimes, Dogs learn best from other dogs... you just want to make sure the other dog has the behaviors yours needs to learn and no more :)

Just give her time. Trust me, she'll come around!

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 3, 2010, 4:51:07 PM PST
OneMtnGirl says:
Hi. I am definitely not an "expert" but I have had a bit of experience with timid rescued dogs. Our first was a tiny (3 lbs) chihuahua who would hide underneath the bed all of the time, not come out (in fact when we moved the bed we discovered some treasure she had left under there for us, she now uses both a small dog pad and the great out of doors) even to eat and was afraid of everything including her own shadow. That was 5 years ago. After a couple of months she decided we were "safe" it seems and became the dog she was truly meant to be. In fact, my husband just let her out and I can hear her barking with the other dogs (at the top of her lungs) in the back yard. Our 2nd rescue wandered up in the front yard one day (4 yrs ago) smelling like she had never been bathed, looked like the dog from "The nightmare before christmas," all bones and was terrified of everything , too. Sorry to say she has recovered but still will not come right up to you when she is called (unless you have a treat then she will just get close enough to take it from you without being touched). Whe occasionally has accidents on the floor but if watched carefully she would rather go outside to potty. We think she was raised in a cage because she is one of those dogs that spins around. She spins before she goes through a door, twice, spins before she comes back inside, etc. Sad but yet endearing. We get aggrevated about her not coming, but we don't have to worry about her leaving if the gate is left open because she seems very happy here with us. She is also a chihuahua and she purrs as if she was a cat. She is also very aggressive when we throw a bag out into the yard, gving it a good bite and a head shake.

Have faith and patience. Your new baby may never be normal (as if you adopted it as a puppy) but she will definitely find her niche in your family. It may be quick or it may not, just remember she was caged and has to learn to trust that all the new stuff around her is "all for good."

Happy Holidays,
Lisa Ray

Posted on Dec 3, 2010, 6:17:19 PM PST
Amanda Peck says:
I've been reading Ali Brown's SCAREDY DOG, and would jump up and down and tell everyone that they need that book, especially with a possibly abused or ignored dog.

One of the peculiar things that she recommends is to get a handful of treats in one hand, and then point your finger at the dog--over at the side of her head--and if she does, well, almost anything, touch your finger with her nose would be a good one, give her a treat. Train her to do that.

(thanks to her, I also got one of mine, freaked out by the Evil Puppies, to stop barking, by one of her methods--praise her if she's quiet for three seconds. For better or worse, now she barks once and looks at me--time for a praise and a pet, huh?--oh, why not)

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 3, 2010, 6:31:33 PM PST
Jerrie Brock says:
Moon Singer
Possibly but that may not be able to helped much just yet. If it is a short absence, try the stuffed toys thing. I like the dogzilla bones. If she does not have an interest in peanut butter, than you can try those cheese squirting things (in the can), or I have found instant mashed potatoes made kind of thick, with butter and some times light beef or chicken broth will do wonders. Stuff it in the end and she should be content to try and lick it out. Also some of those stuffed animals that make soft noises, like a hum or purr will sometimes work, or a old fashioned noisy wind up alarm clock stuffed into something she can lay near. Of course that depends on if she is the destructive type too. For mine, since they are a little more, well, active I had a room set aside with a little wading pool full of things like balls (tennis balls, softballs, golf balls) and other little stuff. When I would go to work I threw in some milk bones, soft treats and a chew treat so they could scour through the mess during the day. That might be too much for her though. So I guess the key is to find some things to keep her attention focused. Also you should use the crate when you are home so she can she you and then will not associate it with being alone. The same thing, give her some comfort toys when you do, you do not have to make the stays long, and maybe when she is tired. Make it a place of comfort for her and you might find she will start to use it as her bed place on her own. Mine have done that.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 3, 2010, 6:45:57 PM PST
Jerrie Brock says:
By the way, thanks for the book hint. I like to try and get all the ideas I can since I am never quite sure what will be showing up around here.

Posted on Dec 4, 2010, 9:42:32 AM PST
I have a previously abused rescued chihuahua. She came to us a complete mess, afraid of everthing and everyone, not potty trained at roughly 2 years old, not leash trained, etc. Regarding the crate, please NO. Animals that have been in mills etc have spent their lives in little prisons, put her in the bathroom with a potty pad if you have to. Even better, for reasonable lengths of time put her in there with her food and water and a little bed, they rarely potty where they eat and sleep, this may allow you to quickly run her outside to potty. She may have to go so bad she'll overlook the grass. Regarding the treats, it's normal for dogs to hide/bury bones etc. let her have this little bit of independence, my chi does it and "finds" them later. The leash will have to wait, it's another bondage tool, build some trust with her first, then let her walk with the leash without you holding it, gradually build up to loosely holding it etc. With the toys, you play with them, have fun with them in front of her but don't involve her, let her watch from a corner or whatever (she doesn't know what they are) do this several times and then just leave the toy there. She'll get the idea. Hope this helps. Oh, and the grass just happens, she just doesn't know what it is.

Posted on Dec 4, 2010, 9:48:17 AM PST
MoonSinger says:
Wow! So much wonderful info here! It will take me time to re-read it all several x's & try some of the techniques. ****I REALLY appreciate everyone's time, thoughtfulness & kindness in making suggestions & giving me support--both me and Chloe (her name).*****
I felt so alone & frustrated so I want to be sure you all know that. I have updates & tons of ?'s for those that have responded...I will put in other posts but I wanted this one to be about THANKING EVERYONE! (:

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 4, 2010, 10:17:51 AM PST
pudlmumX6 says:
Our first dog wa a toy poodle from a puppy mill in lancaster PA before we even knew what puppy mills were. She was four months old and became terrified when leaves blew. Yes, treat her like a newborn baby. These dogs need to learn how to feel, accept, and give love and trust then they are easier to train and the very best companions. Dogs from pet stores and back yard breeders may not have some of the fears but they are no better in any way and in purchasing these dogs you're just contributing to an amazing sickness behind the scenes that makes M.Vick look good.

Posted on Dec 4, 2010, 10:45:32 AM PST
MoonSinger says:
UPDATE ON CHLOE: She came to me at approx 3 lbs (picked her up from Rescue on 11-24-10, with my Mom, who also got a toy poodle, a little older, Abbey.)
Chloe has gained 2 lbs!!! Hooray! She is on a very good, nutritious food, Wellness. I realize she must have dry food as well. But I was worried about her wt. & health, so for now, she gets fed at least 2x daily, a mixture of the dry that is moist (from me putting in fridge to soften)w/ Wellness canned food.
Also, I occasionally use a product called Natural Balance. It's like a "loaf" of meat. You crumble it into water to use as gravy.
She LOVES it *all*, bless her heart. I believe it is already making her feel much better. (I heat it in the microwave so it's nice & warm.)

I started slowly adding a pro-biotic as well, to get her digestive track cleaned out of the garbage & get good bacteria growing. I also cut open one of my Omega fish oil caps & put a little in each of her meals. (I am really into "holistic medicine".)

She was scratching her ears, so I have been using Olive Oil drops, to naturally kill any fungus/bacteria naturally & that seems to be working well. (I'm talking a/b the same olive oil you buy at the store, extra virgin.)

She did something gross but I researched it: eating her own poop. I am following some guidelines from the research: one of the best natural things to do: add garlic to her food. So I now include a drop or two of cut open garlic oil capsule in her food (which is also a natural anti-bacterial/anti-fungal.) And I am following the other "training" guidelines from my far, so good. (:

She *loves* Pupperoni, which I know is not that high quality of a treat...but for Mom just got us some Wellness Treats. Expensive but such high quality! (She likes those too, just tried them last night.) With my other dogs, treats where given as part of praise, earned for good behavior, (other than something like a dental bone, which did not have to be "earned".)

She is still urinating in the apt., always in the same spot. I stopped scolding, even gently since I could see it was really scaring her. My Mom, (bless her heart) got us some "potty pads". I put down the 1st one today in the small hallway where she has been urinating & tried to show it to her, using that really upbeat voice...we shall see.

My Mom's dog, Abbey, is also pottying in the house still. My Mom got advice from a very trusted, knowledgeable family member (who adopts, fosters & pet-sits, has been for years.) Roni suggested: Do you want a dog that always goes indoors or if you have patience, you will eventually train her to go outside & have a house-broken dog?

I'm not sure what to think of this. My Mom's neighbor also has several dogs, Chihuahuas, one rescued. She uses potty pads for when she knows she will not be home for a while so her dogs go outside & on the potty pad if they can't get outside. I really like that idea, have read of others doing it & am hopeful Chloe might do that...I just would like for her to stop urinating on the carpet.

She does go outside too (both). And I am always full of praise: Good Girl went potty! in an excited voice to encourage her & she *always* gets a treat for pottying outside. (I'm just confused as to why when she has just been outside, she will "wait" to urinate inside...perhaps partly b/c she hates the cold grass, esp at night, if it is wet.) Maybe this will just take time.

For those of you who have used "potty pads", I'd like to hear of your opinions, experiences, please.

My Mom gave Chloe her 1st bath (I think the week we brought them both home.) My Mom has always bathed her dogs once a week...Abbey already is okay w/her baths & always smells so good.

Today, I need to bathe Chloe myself. With my other dogs, b/c of back problems, I started putting them in the shower with me & bathed them this way for many years. I hope to get Chloe to get used to this as well. (My other dogs didn't care much for the bathing part but did seem to like that I was in the shower with them: I put 2 in with me: a toy poodle & malti-poo.)

My Mom got a nail file. Chloe's nails are really too long. I'm not sure whether to do that today, as well as the bath or if that will be *too much stress*. ANY OPINIONS?

I still can't get her to play with any of her toys: she has 2 precious stuffed toys that I bought b4 I got her & slept w/so they'd have my scent on them. I guess that will just take some time.

If I give her a dental stix, she still will not eat it but hides it. The problem is that I have just a couple of chew toys (that have a taste) that she won't chew. She chews on wood pieces she picks up outside, (which I immediately take away) & inappropriate things in the house, like plastic. When I have taken the "incorrect object" from her, I then give her something appropriate to chew on, but she always hides it immediately. (And she's really good at hiding; I can't find them.)

I did order (thru Netflix) a Dog Whisperer DVD & watched it. I had watched his show b4. I think Cesar is amazing! I *love* wolves & totally understand "the pack thing" and the importance of being the Alpha dog in our little Pack. (I had a male malti-poo who used to challenge me fairly regularly & I got good w/Cesar Millan's kind of training w/him, which was very effective.) I am trying to find the right balance on how firm to be w/Chloe w/o terrifying her.

I found Cesar's website & will further research to see if he covers that:

It is very difficult to "ignore" fearful responses, but I totally understand Cesar's theory on that. Helpful tips, hints, anyone?

I know this is long...I'm a writer so it's hard for me to keep it short. (:

I WELCOME any comments, feedback, suggestions, etc. for any of the things I've spoken of here. Again, I cannot find words to express MY GRATITUDE for all the support!
~~Dog People Are the Best!~~
-Melissa & Chloe

Posted on Dec 4, 2010, 10:56:51 AM PST
MoonSinger says:
I forgot to mention: Chloe & I are "fiercely bonded". I've never felt this bonded with an animal before. It is quite wonderful...I hope that it is healthy for her...she is showing small steps towards independence: such as a minute or 2 in her bed instead of always on my lap. She does follow me everywhere but I am sure that is her fear of abandonment & this wonderful thing that has happened to her ending. (Will take time for her to trust.)

I hate to do it, but I may try the crate thing as suggested by S. jerrems. The problem is that it's one of those closed in plastic crates. I use it if I take her in the car, for now. And when I leave. Mom has put the word out to see if we can find a used small crate for her. Abbey has one & she will go & get in it herself...she feels safe in it & I believe it is mostly b/c it is so open & she can see all around her. Last night, I couldn't believe it, but Chloe went & laid in it for a good 15 minutes. So I hope we can find a used one or one for free since we are running out of $.

Also she & Abbey are big pals, for the most part. Although, during a visit yesterday, when Abbey got close to me for affection, I could not believe what I heard from my timid little dog: she *growled* at Abbey!!!! Do you think this is just her way of saying, "Hey, that's MY Mom!"?

Chloe loves my Mom & seeks her attn & affection, which I am really thankful for...same with Abbey & I.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 4, 2010, 11:38:15 AM PST
Amanda Peck says:
With the--non-abused for the most part--dogs I've had, I've fed them in their crates--open if there's only one dog. Not with the current crop of puppies, though, they each get locked in to eat.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 5, 2010, 12:12:08 AM PST
BrooKiki says:
My first comment is that Caesar Milan is NOT a good person to follow for advice on dog training. Here's a good article on WHY: His Alpha idea and "dominance" situations are utterly ridiculous frequently and encourage an attitude of "Your dog is out to get you."

I came across a couple of articles while doing a bit of googling and they look pretty good:

The first one specifically addresses corporophagia. Some puppy mill dogs learn to eat feces simply due to the lack of food.

DO NOT SCOLD FOR THE URINATION. I repeat, DO NOT SCOLD FOR THE URINATION as this is not a "bad" behavior. She doesn't understand that she's doing something wrong and when you scold her, it would be very much like someone scolding you for using a toilet. You would be confused and stressed at this as well, simply because you did what you thought was acceptable and can't understand why you're getting yelled at.

She's using the same spot because she smells urine. You need to remove the urine smell from that spot and a product like Resolve will not do it. An enzyme cleaner like Nature's Miracle Stain and Odor Remover 32oz will. Get rid of the urine smell and you'll get rid of the cue to urinate there.

As for the nails, what do you mean by long? I assume her nails are clear, so how far does the quick (the pink part) extend? If a dog's nails are not cut regularly, the quick will also grow and that means that you can't just cut them down to the right length, because you'll also be cutting through quick. If you look at the nail and most of what you want to cut is pink, I would seriously recommend talking to a vet about how to proceed. Basically, she's scared enough now. If you hurt her cutting her nails, forget it.

Posted on Dec 6, 2010, 7:58:09 PM PST
S.R.S. says:
I'm glad your dog is making progress! We have a toy poodle, my mom has a miniature. They are smart dogs. I'm sure your's will continue to come right along. Our poodles love to be held. A true lap dog! Both are picky about their food treats. They often turn their noses up so I'm glad you found several things that pleases yours. I don't have any training advice that hasn't already been mentioned here. I do know that your vet should be able to help. And being a poodle, you'll need to go to the groomers every few weeks, and they are wonderful resources too. Good luck and thank you and your mom for being rescuers!

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 7, 2010, 9:07:19 AM PST
my wife and i have 4 rescue dogs and have found that you have to give a rescue dog time to develope faith, trust in you. we have also found that another dog about the same size also helps a great deal for the rescue to adjust. i can't stress enough that dogs are pack animals and do much better when they have their own kind for company. you and the dog will muddle through together and you will and you'll learn about each other just as you would with a new friend. you'll also find the more you hold them and provide the security they need, the faster they come around. remember these dogs have gone through alot and will most likely never be what we would call normal, but they will come as close as they can to being themselfs. they will reward you with never ending loyalty and love if thats what you give them. john

Posted on Dec 7, 2010, 11:20:11 PM PST
MoonSinger says:
Thanks again to all who have posted, shared

Posted on Dec 7, 2010, 11:20:49 PM PST
MoonSinger says:
Thanks again to all who have posted, shared & esp the articles. (:

Brookiki, I definitely don't want to offend you in any way so I hope we will agree to disagree. I do believe that Cesar Melan has some good ideas that make a lot of sense to me. I totally agree with the whole "Pack mentality" philosophy...although, I do think that every pet owner should follow their own "gut instincts". (I did find another page on that site that you gave me that blew me away...I am going to make a separate post for it, after some research. Also I have sent Steve an email & will await his reply.)
The article that I feel every pet owner should read: (About LETHAL lead toxicity in pet toys.)

By the way, Cesar's website has a whole section on Puppy Mill Dogs & their success stories. For those interested, here is the link (there are tons of stories):

Chloe is so incredibly smart & doing amazingly well! (:

I had not mentioned this b4 (stigma) but wish to now: I got Chloe via an Rx from my psychiatrist, as part of my "treatment plan." (I didn't even know that you could do this.)
It is covered by the ADA. At this point, Chloe is considered an ESA (Emotional Support Animal). And I must credit her with absolutely changing my life!

I want to share one of the most incredible, magical, spiritual moments I have had in my entire life: One night, I was having a very difficult time. I had been crying for at least an hour & was feeling very hopeless. You know what that precious little angel did? She came softly to me & *laid the side of her face on the side of mine*!!!! (And guess what, a seed of hope was planted that night that is growing day-by-day!)

Chloe is a *blessing* to me, way more than I am to her!

More later & again, thanks everyone!!!!!!!!

~From the Melissa & Chloe Pack (:

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 8, 2010, 7:45:59 AM PST
I work with wolves and wolfdogs. I have been rescuing dogs for well over a dozen years including several puppy mill poodles. I have to agree with Brookiki. Wolves do not interact with each other the way Cesar Milian claims they do. Those ideas have long since been disproven by biologists. You do not (Not Ever) handle a wolf the way he handles a dog. Even if that were the case dogs are not pack animals. They are social animals, but they don't form packs in the way that wolves do. I know that goes against everything most people have ever been told, but the fact is that semi-feral dogs such as the African village dogs and dump dogs living in Mexico, dingoes and other wild living dogs do not form packs. His training methods work, not because of any outdated, inaccurate notion of dominance, but because he uses negative reinforcement and positive punishment to stop behavior. If you want to get one of his books then I suggest you get the latest one, Cesar's Rules.

Puppy mill dogs are extremely difficult to house train. She won't crate train like normal dogs because unlike normal dogs she has been taught to use the bathroom in her crate. She will need both a sleep area and a potty area where she is confined. My aunt kept the worst of the puppy mill poodles we rescued. It took him over a year before she could touch him and six years later he still isn't 100% house trained. Set Chloe up in a large crate, put a smaller crate or a basket in the large crate and put doggy litter or puppy pads in the rest of the crate. This can also be done with a crate and an X-Pen. The area needs to be either clearly defined sleep area or potty area.

The problem with puppy pads is that they seep. At least my aunt's seep, but she has several dogs that will use them. She has to constantly mop under them, when the dogs use the puppy pads it isn't much different than when they just pee on the floor. I would suggest planning on leaving an indoor toilet area for Chloe long term. I lean toward dog litter or one of those sod trays. It is very difficult to get advice regarding behavior modification on the internet from people who can't see the dog and see where you guys are. If you want to have a professional look at her look for a behaviorist, not a regular trainer. There is a difference and a behaviorist is more what you will likely need.

There is a book of ESAs by Jane Miller titled, Healing Companions, you might be interested in reading. I hesitate to mention this, and keep in mind that I mostly work with the rescued dogs that are so traumatized, and/or poorly or under-socialized that they can't be placed immediately and that colors my views. But dogs that are going to be out in the public need to be exceptional among dogs. They have to tolerate strange people, especially children running up to them and grabbing them. They need to be okay around crowds, loud noises and novelty. If she gets scared and growls or god forbid bites somebody it will affect all service dogs everywhere and especially ESAs which already have a difficult time. Even if she doesn't bite if you can't get her 100% house trained you can't take her in a store.

My aunt's puppy mill poodle would be okay now, six years later, but even after two years he was still scared and biting people who startled him. Like I said before he was the worst of the rescues, but many dogs provide subtle stress signals that most dog owners don't see. Turid Rugass's On Talking Terms with Dogs: Calming Signals is a small booklet that just helps to show the subtle stress signals. Another great book is Patricia McConnell's, The Other End of the Leash. She is an ethologist which I think will appeal to you.

Good Luck with Chloe.


In reply to an earlier post on Dec 8, 2010, 11:26:53 AM PST
MoonSinger says:

Sorry, this post must be quick...will try to leave more info later...but I wanted to thank you for all of the info you took the time to put together & the suggestions you have made.

Chloe does use the puppy pad exclusively now & I gently praise her but long for her to go outside, esp for pooping. So when she does either outside, I give HUGE amt.s of praise & ALWAYS a treat, & always associate the words, "potty outside", "good girl", etc to appeal to her desire to pls me.

Even though she is an EAS dog 4 me, I do not intend to take her out in public places, maybe ever. It would be great...but my main concern is for her comfort & safety.

There is so very much to work on...& I am really quite ill, not just mentally (which is much better, thanks to her presence) but physically.

I'm trying to take it slow & not get obsessed. I feel more concern 4 her than I do 4 myself. Given physical limitations & even worse, $ ones, I'm doing the best I know how to.

Chloe sleeps with me every night & gets lots of attn! I see progress in that she is starting to go to her bed or one of many pallets I have around the house for limited "alone time", which = 2 me, growing security.

Also, as far as crates, etc., I live in a *very small* apt with very limited space (kind of like a studio.) So I am trying to work out the space issues.

More later...I REALLY appreciate your post! (:
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Discussion in:  Dogs forum
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Initial post:  Nov 30, 2010
Latest post:  Feb 7, 2011

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