Customer Question: I have adopted a 3 year old dog, Bella, that was rescued from a laboratory last year in November. She was bred for the lab (Beagle/Italian Greyhound), so until she was rescued, she was in a cage with very little real human contact. They did testing for Lyme disease on her, and they debarked her. I adopted her in March of this year and have been tenderly working with her, getting her use to “people” love. However, she is jumpy and has some quirky behavior, which I feel is ok, but she seems not to be letting go of them. She always poops in the very same place. She still is not housebroken, even when she has access to go out at all times. She wags her tail and jumps around when she sees me, but at the same time seems detached. Most of these things I have accepted and continue to work with her. However, I feel there may be some flower essence or holistic drops I could give her to deal with her emotional inner issues. Sometimes I feel she is afraid of big spaces, and she has issues with threshholds (doorways) and stays in one room of the house. I have 2 other dogs and she has great communications with them. Any suggestions will help. Thank you in advance.
First, I must express how touched I am by your dedication to your rescued companion! Bella is quite lucky to have found someone who will take the time and make the effort needed to help her transition into family life from the laboratory. It sounds like you are doing all the right things to help acclimate her to such a new environment. Your instincts are correct in thinking that there are some additional remedies available to help her.
- Anxiety & Fear Flower Essence – This remedy is often used for animals with traumatic experiences in their past such as Bella. It can be given internally and applied to her ears and paws externally. When I use flower essences internally I put some in the drinking water (it doesn’t matter if it is shared with other pets that don’t need the remedy) and I also dose directly into the mouth if the dog is not resistant to it.
- A ThunderShirt could be very useful for Bella as a training aid & to help her manage stress. I know several folks who have adopted greyhounds from the track who would not be without Thundershirts for their rescued dogs. Put it on her during training sessions to help her stay calm and focused. Use it during any stressful event like trips to the veterinarian, etc.
- Comfort Zone with DAP (dog appeasing hormones) can also be a great training aid. If you use the diffuser, place it in the room where she spends the most time. You should only have to use it for a two or three months during a training period, and then you can unplug it and see how she does. The spray is handy because you can spray any area in the house, (or car, etc) where you want to do some training. For instance, if you want to start training her not to fear thresholds, you can spray the threshold area 10-15 minutes before you are going to have a training session.
The house-training issue will take the most patience. You would need to treat her as if she is a puppy and never give her unsupervised access to the house until she understands she is to poop outside. It sounds like she learned long ago that pooping indoors is appropriate, and if she is scolded for it she is just likely to do it when you are not looking or change to a less visible spot in the house. The Training/Breaking Habits Flower Essence could be helpful during your house-training efforts. Here is a link to a good article about house training: http://www.dogstardaily.com/training/errorless-housetraining. While it may sound daunting to keep her confined while you house-train her, it will be the best thing for her in the long run.
Last, but not least, I would highly recommend learning T-Touch massage and using it with Bella daily. I have seen it completely transform traumatized and under-socialized dogs. There are books available (probably at your local library) and videos online. Here is the main website: http://www.ttouch.com/
Please let me know if you have any additional questions or if we can be of assistance in any way. I would love to hear about Bella’s progress, so please send an update in the near future if you can.