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Old 04-23-2011, 02:26 PM
Location: New Hampshire
4,854 posts, read 5,446,695 times
Reputation: 3744


This will probably be a silly question.

Is it possible for animals to be traumatized by certain situations?

My ex-husband and I got into a violent altercation. He tried to take the dog away from my arms, pushed me around and threw me over the couch. I didn't let him take the dog because I knew I was never going to see him again

(He ended up in jail, charges were filed and I moved 2000 miles away overnight)

It's been a year since that happened but the dog apparently never got over it.

My ex was verbally abusive and would throw things at me and scream at me on a daily basis. Whenever such things would happen, the dog would jump on my lap, almost like he was trying to protect me. He is a 2 year old American Eskimo. There was nothing the puppy could do, really.

Now whenever someone raises their voice around me even we are just joking and laughing, the dog runs to me and starts shaking. If I am standing, he hides behind me with his ears back...like he is fightened.

Has anyone on here dealth with such behavior?

I feel horrible for him and I am not sure what to do. I tell him he is not in trouble and nobody is going to hit me...I pick him up and rub his belly, give him "kisses". I don't know what else to do.
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Old 04-23-2011, 03:38 PM
Location: Chapel Hill, N.C.
36,499 posts, read 51,512,383 times
Reputation: 47818
I think you have answered your own question. Some dogs never get over the death of a loved one, even if it wasn't violent. Some dogs relate pain and misery to feet, if only kicked once time- which is one time too many.

My friend was ina minor car accident while her dog was with her and dog had to be taken away by animal control so friend could go to hospital. The poor dog could never go into a car again. Association works both ways. Positive (rewards) and negative (pain and abandonment).

I hope you can get your dog to trust again. It was smart of you to get as far away from this guy as possible. Just be patient and try to get friends to understand why the dog is reacting the way he does.
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Old 04-23-2011, 04:24 PM
7,329 posts, read 15,758,864 times
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I second everything no kudzu said. Also, fight your instinct to fuss over your dog when it's afraid since it just encourages the cowering. Be positive and upbeat, and just say it's OK, and then ignore the behavior. I hope she can learn to be more confident.
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Old 04-23-2011, 10:37 PM
Status: "Time is on my side" (set 25 days ago)
Location: Massachusetts
4,200 posts, read 9,880,641 times
Reputation: 5418
Just do exactly what your doing: reassure and love on him as much as possible. With love and patience, your dog may eventually get over his trauma.
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Old 04-25-2011, 07:03 AM
Location: St. Croix
737 posts, read 2,503,617 times
Reputation: 762
All of ours have issues. It takes time. Sometimes years to get over it. Just keep doing what you're doing and don't baby him too much whenever you sense he is needy. He is, but just acknowledge and then ignore, as Subject2Change said.

Be patient and thankfully, know you did the right thing for him and especially yourself. Good for you!
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Old 04-25-2011, 08:27 AM
4,226 posts, read 14,917,891 times
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I wonder if you can desensitize your dog by getting a tape w/ screams etc - this w/b much like people do for dogs who are afraid of thunder, fireworks etc, you would play it and when the dog seems OK w/ it, turn it louder a bit - if he is OK w/ that, maybe turn it up a bit louder again - wuld check w/ your vet or a dog behaviorist as you dont want your dog to regress further but it might be worth a try. Also concur w/ those who said to basically ignore him w/ the noises, if you pet him and reassure him which is what most of us would want to do, it can backfire and make him more nervous.
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