We have just got Molly, a mixed breed puppy, from rescue. She had been really badly mistreated, and is very nervous and hides if new people come to the house. How do we overcome this?

Sue Williams advises…

Thank goodness Molly has a caring, safe home. I have spent many years advising new owners of rescue dogs, as well as working with traumatised dogs.

The key things you need to do are:

• Make her feel secure and safe • Build her con dence

• Be patient and allow things to progress at her pace

• Don’t put her in a situation that will overwhelm her (for example, don’t let anyone force themselves on her; rather let her decide if she wishes to engage with them)

• Reinforce and reward her when she is relaxed

• Seek professional help – many rescue organisations will provide this, or find a dog behaviourist who can assess Molly and devise socialisation programmes specifically for her

I always admire people like you, who decide to commit, despite knowing there is a long journey ahead. Speaking from my own experiences, as someone who has owned and rehabilitated many rescued, abused dogs, you will reap many rewards. Good luck on your journey!


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