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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 19665
Experience:  Behaviorist /Trainer and Dog breeder 18+ years
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I adopted a chihuahua about 7 weeks ago. Story we got from

Customer Question

I adopted a chihuahua about 7 weeks ago. Story we got from humane society was that she was found day after Halloween in a costume. She's about 6 yrs old based on dental work they did on her. She appears to me to be deeply depressed. She NEVER leaves her bed unless I pick her up and go outside to potty. She will never come to me and cowers when I go to her. After potty, she runs to the fence and cowers in the corner. Won't play, won't walk around and explore, never heard her bark. I love her to pieces and have showed her nothing else. I don't know what to do to make her happy
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 1 year ago.

Hi JaCustomer,

My name is ***** ***** I’ve been involved professionally with dogs in the health and behavioral fields for over 18 years. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.

In order to supply you with an informed answer, it is necessary for me to collect some additional information from you. When I receive your response or reply, it will likely take me between 30-45 minutes to type up my reply if I am still online when I receive notice that you replied. I hope you can be patient.

Haver you done any obedience training with her?

Do you take her for walks?

Does she eat and drink well?

Do you crouch down when you approach her or lean over?

I can't see your personal information so are you male or female?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I am a female. No obedience training yet. I have a harness collar and a leash for her and have tried a couple times to use them. I want to be able to walk with her but when I try she crouches down and won't move. I do crouch down when I approach her. It doesn't seem to matter, she always cowers. I even talk to her the whole time I'm coming towards her. Having just had some teeth pulled when I got her, she wasn't eating hard food so I'm using canned food. I put hot water in it to warm it up cause she won't drink water and for now at least, that's the only water she gets. She won't get out of her bed to eat. I put her bowl in her bed. She eats twice a day and does it well.
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 1 year ago.

Thanks for the additional information. It is helpful. You may not want to hear this but it sounds like she is training you.

You will need to get some nutrical from the pet store or your vet office. You will use this to provide her with nutrition when and if she refuses to move to go to a bowl. You will then put her food at least 3 feet from her bed and leave it there. Don't watch her, just put it down and walk away and go about your normal routine. If after a couple of hours she has not eaten, give her some nutrical. It will keep her from becoming hypoglycemic and supply her with the necessary nutrition that she needs but not fill her stomach. It may take her a few days but she will get hungry and move to eat. Once she is eating, gradually move the bowl further away from the bed.

Do not try and coax her out of the bed. Of course, you will need to take her out to eliminate but otherwise let her be. She has to learn that you do not mean her any harm and she has no reason to be scared of you. In addition, I would put a harness on her and leave it on her. If she was found in a costume then she was used to having item on her body. So put the harness on and let her wear it.

Once she is moving around with the harness to get her food, then you will want to give it a week or so and then attach a leash to the harness and make her drag the leash around. Make it a short light weight leash to begin with. She’ll start to move around with the leash. If at any time she doesn’t eat at least twice a day, give her the nutrical. Once she is moving around with the leash on, then you can start working with her in earnest. Then you will want to start obedience training with her.

Obedience training serves a few different purposes. Obviously it teaches a dog commands which allow you to control the dog. However, it also helps a shy or scared dog gain self-confidence as the dog learns that when you stay a certain word, you want them to do a specific thing. They naturally become less fearful once they know what you expect of them. It also establishes you as the boss. Dogs respect the boss and it is their nature to obey the boss even if they don’t want to. All of these things will help her learn to trust you and be more open to becoming your true companion.

The following site is helpful in helping owners train their dog. Be sure and click on the link to the page on obedience at the bottom. and links on subsequent pages leading to detailed instructions.

Training works best if you train at least 30 minutes a day (two 15 minute sessions). I would start making your dog work via the Nothing in life is free program (NILF). It is outlined below.

This isn’t going to be a quick fix but it is the best way to get her used to not only her new home and you but to also become a well adjusted dog as well.

I hope this information is helpful to you. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have . If you do find this helpful, please take this opportunity to rate my answer so I am compensated for my time.

If you have questions in the future that you wish me to answer, you may click here and bookmark the page or make it a favorite. It is best to put my name "JANE" in the question as well.

Since there have been recalls on certain foods, please check the following site to be sure the food your animals eat is not affected. If it is affected, contact your vet as soon as possible. Have your dog seen if they have any symptoms.

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