I recently met a very handsome Standard Poodle who was rescued from a bad situation. He had been kept in a crate for most of his life and had not been adequately socialized with people. [Socialization is the term used for exposing pets to a large variety of other animals, people and situations at a young age so that they learn not to be fearful.]  This stunning guy ran from me when I met him and was obviously afraid of people. His behavior was just like puppy mill survivors who also did not have the benefit of being socialized. They can be like wild animals. I realized that in order for this Poodle to learn to trust me, I would have to treat him like a puppy mill dog. 

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you know that I wrote Puppy Mill Dogs SPEAK, the foremost book on how to rehabilitate puppy mill survivors. Many of the ideas I offer in the book to help mill dogs can be applied to under-socialized dogs as well. It doesn’t matter how the dogs did not receive socialization; lack of socialization manifests in the same behaviors. 

My body language was important when trying to gain the trust of the Poodle. I did not approach him head-on, nor did I chase him. With this kind of dog, all egos must be put aside. So many people believe that they have “a gift” with animals. Mill dogs and under-socialized dogs will humble you very quickly! No matter how much of a gift you may have, these dogs will still be afraid of you. However, you can learn how to gain their trust. 

I suggest that anyone who has a fearful dog read my book.  Several chapters apply to fearful dogs and talk in depth about how to deal with the following issues:

  • Fear of being touched
  • Fear of noises
  • Greeting new people
  • Living with dogs who may be a flight risk

I also cover how to be a dog’s leader using the principle that dogs require us to have good parenting skills, meaning no force-based or physical punishment methods, controlling the dog’s resources, and use of consistent rules. The book is a good read for any dog owner, really. An entire chapter is dedicated to housetraining, and lots of insights into dog behavior are provided.

The book can be ordered at https://www.createspace.com/3445335