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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 19829
Experience:  Behaviorist /Trainer and Dog breeder 18+ years
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I have a rescue and he is afraid of men. He has warmed up to

Customer Question

I have a rescue and he is afraid of men. He has warmed up to me but still has problems letting me lovie and be close. He is very cautious. He is sweet and wants to give in to the love, but is still having problems letting go of past abuse. He is 4 and a maltese. Very well trained with house manners. He is very protective of me, but still has problems getting close. He has been in our family since March 18th. I just need to know how to work with him. I also have had a hard time finding the food he likes and a feeding schedule. If I sleep late he is right there with me and won't eat until I am around. He is starting to go in the yard by himself. He does not let my husband pet him, but will take food and treats. He stands behind me and follows me around that way. He likes to play and when we play he ends up tucking his tail and rolling over for me to rub is stomach. He is very concerned in keeping himself clean. my love of my life dog was raised as a puppy and this is so different. Sometimes when I try to pick him up he acts like I am hurting him under his front legs. Maybe he has had a broken leg. The vet checked him out and he is healthy. I just need to know how to make him feel safe and trusting of my husband. Also, I don't hink he has ever had a toy and I know he has never had a t-bone.
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.

Contrary to popular belief, dogs DO NOT like to be hugged and kissed. To dogs this can actually feel like a challenge by the person and a dominant gesture. Now I know you are thinking that you had dogs that loved it, but most dogs that were raised with their people tolerate the hugs and kisses we all end up giving from time to time. Dogs communicate much differently than humans. Here is a site that talks about the dos and don'ts of dog human interactions.

Learning dog body language will help as well.

Now dogs need to be picked up properly or you may be hurting your little guy. The rear legs should be scooped up in one hand and the other hand placed on the chest between the front legs. You then lift straight up so there is no pressure on the discs of the spine. If you are not doing this then you should start to prevent any discomfort the dog might feel being picked up.

The quickest way of getting the dog to see your husband in a better light is to have him work with your dog on obedience training. It isn't to teach him commands especially if he already knows commands. It is so the dog realizes that your husband want him to do something specific when a command is given. This helps the dog gain self confidence around your husband as he knows what to expect from your husband.

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.

You can also help by turning over care of him to your husband. Let him ffed the dog and take him outside. As for toys, he may never learn to enjoy toys, but having them available is a plus. Getting the type that can hide a treat in can help them learn to play with toys. You mention t-bones. If you literally mean a t-bone, don't do it. Some dogs can have raw bones but normally it is not safe to give dogs bones and never should cooked bones be given as they tend to splinter and can cause gastrointestinal punctures leading to peritonitis or obstructions which can be deadly if not treating quickly.

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 positively so I am compensated for my time.

Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 1 year ago.

I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?

Jane Lefler