Bringing a dog into your life can be an exciting time that brings joy to the whole family. Even young dogs carry with them their own experiences that may have profoundly shaped their behaviors and personalities. Timid and untrusting dogs require time, patience and love. With these things, their true personalities will, oftentimes, eventually shine.
It is heartbreaking to think anyone might harm that precious fur buddy you love so dearly. Animal abuse can occur in many forms, such as isolation, separating a puppy from his mother too soon, tying him up or forcing him to spend time in small cages or crates, and depriving him of important learning experiences. Failing to care for the dog in terms of feeding, watering and grooming is also a form of abuse. Yelling at or inflicting physical harm on a dog can have profound effects on the way he sees humans and the world around him.
For Max, if he has suffered abuse or neglect, he will undoubtedly be affected by these painful and unpleasant experiences. A universal response to these experiences is to react with mistrust toward others, depression and withdrawal. While many dogs are curious about the world around them, a dog who has suffered abuse and neglect may choose to be reclusive and stay tucked away in a corner. Some dogs may even exhibit signs of agoraphobia.
It's possible to rehabilitate a dog who is mistrusting and timid with time and patience. He can learn there are good people who love him and the world can be a happy place! However, patience is key and it would be unfair to expect Max to make a 180-degree turnaround in a short amount of time. The damage has been done and it will take time to help him come around. At least one full year of recovery time should be expected, but even after a year has passed, all signs of mistrust and timidness most likely won't be erased.
Rehabilitating your buddy will be a challenging, but rewarding experience. Your compassionate heart will be of utmost importance during the process. Keep your dog away from things he fears. If he hates loud noises, let him curl up next to you on nights when it's thundering outside. Do your best to help him see he's loved, and create opportunities for him to experience happy outcomes, such as getting a treat after going to the bathroom. Provide him with good exercise on a daily basis and a complete, nourishing diet. Speak to your buddy in a calm, quiet manner and instruct other members of the household to make this a habit. Commands should also be given quietly because yelling or giving commands in a stern tone could scare Max and nothing positive will come of it.
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