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Has my dog been abused?
36

crazycatgal · 09/08/2018 17:27

I adopted a dog from a kennels awhile ago and there are some things that are bugging me. When he first came home he didn't like his head being stroked, he was always ducking if you went to touch him, this has improved a lot but is still there.

He is terrified of bowls, if you put a bowl down near him, he runs away and seems to be really scared. This makes it hard to get him to have a drink when out walking.

He is nervous in general but bowls seem to terrify him and after an incident today where he shot out of my hands because a bowl was placed near him I'm starting to think that something bad has happened to him.

I'd really appreciate it if anyone could offer their opinions.

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NotSuchASmugMarriedNow1 · 09/08/2018 17:37

What do you serve his food in?

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NotSuchASmugMarriedNow1 · 09/08/2018 17:38

It does sound as though he has very negative associations with bowls and if you got him from a rescue centre then he probably was badly treated. Can you ask the rescue centre for more information?

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crazycatgal · 09/08/2018 17:39

His food is served in a metal bowl, when it's put down he runs out of the way and then comes back to eat.

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BiteyShark · 09/08/2018 17:39

Can't comment on the other things but I think a lot of dogs, including mine, don't like their head stroked. Mine will often duck out of the way to avoid it.

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crazycatgal · 09/08/2018 17:39

@NotSuchASmugMarriedNow1 He's not from a rescue centre, he's from a breeding kennels and has spent his whole life there.

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Saucery · 09/08/2018 17:41

Possibly been kicked away from food bowls in a former home.
You can get silicone ‘travel’ bowls - if it’s the colour and noise of a metal bowl he might be ok with that. Or feed on a mat or from a Kong toy, taking the association away completely for him, poor lad.

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Saucery · 09/08/2018 17:43

If breeding kennels then highly likely he has been kicked or otherwise hurt approaching food bowls.

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crazycatgal · 09/08/2018 17:45

He doesn't like any kind of bowls, he's been tried with; metal bowls, plastic bowls and also a fold away silicone bowl. He's scared of all of them.

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Ihaventgottimeforthis · 09/08/2018 17:47

You could try getting him one of those dishes designed to slow down eating - they look like a huge silicon egg box, like the northmate one.
Then try just having bowls around the house, not with food or drink, just to get him used to having them around and reassuring him they are not dangerous.
Is he the same for silicon or rubber bowls, or those squashable fabric ones? My dogs will drink from water poured from a bottle - not ideal but better than nothing.

He may well have been hit with a bowl in the past, or had to compete with other dominant dogs for food - is he food possessive?

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Saucery · 09/08/2018 17:49

It’s the process of being fed that alarms him then. Can you let him discover it for himself? We make our dog sit a distance away, go to her bed while we put the food out, or serve it while she is in another room (because she is a pestering gannet who attempts to eat it before it’s even touched the floor).

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crazycatgal · 09/08/2018 17:50

@Ihaventgottimeforthis He does the same for silicone bowls too. He's not food possessive or anything, he's very soft and passive.

I think the idea about leaving bowls around the house is a good one, I will definitely try that.

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crazycatgal · 09/08/2018 17:52

@Saucery He's the same with water bowls too, when we're out he doesn't like to go near bowls I put down for him and will normally wait until his is very thirsty before he will drink.

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Aprilshowersinaugust · 09/08/2018 17:53

Plastic tray for food? Cat fountain for water?

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ScreamingValenta · 09/08/2018 17:53

It might not be ideal, but in the short term, could you put his food on a rubber mat?

For water, you could try a water fountain (designed for cats but if he'd accept it, it might work). Something like this is non-bowl-like

www.argos.co.uk/product/6988896

This could be a way of meeting his refreshment needs while working on breaking the negative associations in the ways suggested by pps.

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SilverHairedCat · 09/08/2018 17:54

Sounds like my dog. Don't try to pet his head. If you must touch his head, touch his chin, rub there and build up to bringing the hand round. Putting the hand on top of the head, aiming towards the eyes if you like, is quite aggressive when you think about it.

As for bowls, change out the metal bowl for something else and build confidence back up. You can always carry a small folding bowl for your dog to drink from when out and about.

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Saucery · 09/08/2018 17:54

Oh bless, that is a problem, isn’t it, unless he would drink a stream from a bottle like Ihavent says.

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JurassicGirl · 09/08/2018 17:55

One of my dogs ducks her head & doesn't really like to be stroked on top of her head, the other - her sister is fine with head strokes etc.

The same dog who ducks her head is also scared of balloons & kites but nothing bad has ever happened around them. She's more nervous in general.

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Joboy · 09/08/2018 17:56

When out pour water into hands . Get dog to drink out of hands . Then get them to drink as you pour bottle.

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ChardonnaysPrettySister · 09/08/2018 17:59

It's maybe the sound metal bowls make when they scrape on a tiled floor, and now he's scared of all bowls.

One of mine was scared of that.

Try to put some tuna in spring water on top of his food, mine will sell their grandmother for that.

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catkind · 09/08/2018 18:04

Maybe the kennels trained them (?over aggressively) to keep out of the way while food put down? Or they were trained to leave human food in bowls alone and dog food was served in something else? Could ask the kennels how dog is used to being fed, see if they can cast any light?

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crazycatgal · 09/08/2018 18:12

I'm not sure that asking the kennels would accomplish much. He came to me with bad dental issues that needed veterinary treatment.

He's also scared of running water from bottles. I'm wondering if he's had water bowls tipped over him or something like that.

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Honeyroar · 09/08/2018 18:24

How long have you had him? Personally I'd leave him to get used to it. He will learn that bowls aren't an issue for him in his new life, don't make it one. Let him walk away and come back, don't take him places where he needs to drink from a bowl until he settles down. Just give him time to get his head round the fact that he's safe now. We've had a few rescue dogs with initial fears (of men mostly) and they've all got over it eventually.

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Cheripie64 · 09/08/2018 19:01

Could you try to feed from a shallow long rectangular or square dish, maybe he doesn't like putting his head in the bowl, seeing as he is headshy. There are also raised tables that you can get with feeding bowls built in, could it be it hurts his neck when he reaches right down to eat?

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Ihaventgottimeforthis · 09/08/2018 19:33

Poor boy. Patience & time!

Feed him off a plastic tray or even straight off the ground - more mess & waste but hopefully only short term.
If he would drink from your cupped hands then maybe scooping water from a water dish to offer to him would work?

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AvocadosBeforeMortgages · 09/08/2018 19:40

I've heard some people say that an ID tag clinking on a bowl can set up a negative association; might that be the source of issues that have then become bigger?

Perhaps you could try obscuring the shape of the bowl - perhaps by putting some scrunched up fabric around the base or similar? What's he drinking out of - is it a bowl but only when totally desperate?

Lots of dogs don't like the top of their head being stroked; the side of the head is a lot less intimidating. Mine (rescue, no reason to believe he was abused though certainly some of his needs weren't met) will duck out of the way or not depending on his mood. Let him go at his own pace; mine has gone from wriggling out of cuddles after 3 seconds to occasionally asking to be picked up for cuddles (he knows that if he starts to wiggle I'll always put him down, so he has that element of choice). Going into a family home is a big adjustment for an ex puppy farm breeding dog, so patience is always required!

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