Unsocialized Aussie

by Valerie Leonard
(Anchorage, Alaska)

Hi all, I rescued an Aussie about a month ago. She's 9 months old now. When I got her I was the 3rd person she had ever met. She had never been off the property she was born at. Never been inside, never been in a car, never been to the vet, never walked up stairs, never... so many things.

When I first got her she was terrified of me and everything. Never aggressive but always trying to run or freezing in fear and shutting down. She has gotten better though. Now She sleeps on my bed at night happily and each morning she pounces on me as soon as she knows I'm awake. She lays next to me and nudges my arm for pets. Total cuddle bug. During the day though it's very hit or miss on her wanting to be near me. Mostly it's a miss.

I try to coax her with treats and chicken. I try not to force her into things. I'd like to take her to work but it just terrifies her and causes her to shut down at home too so I stopped taking her.

I guess I'm looking for reassurance that I'm on the right track with her and one day she will be a happy girl and trust me.

Any advice on what I can do for her?

She's going to start doggy day care tomorrow. Although she doesn't understand people at all she did live with at least 18 other dogs so I'm hoping it will give her exercise and something happy.

Valerie and Kalina

I'm using my phone and can't upload a photo. She about a 40 pound black tri.

Comments for Unsocialized Aussie

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Great job so far
by: Anonymous

Sounds like u are on the right track, and congrats on the progress!!! I suggest lots and lots of consistent repeats and gentle praises and small goals. Aussies just aim to please and I'm sure she wants to. She just has to learn to believe in what she finally has.

by: Valerie

Doggy day care was a bust. She freaked out and shut down. The place and one person there was too much.

I hope with time she feels more confident and wants more than to lay on my bed.

Patience and love
by: Anonymous

Patience Patience Patience. Socialize slowly with a stuffed animal like a teddy bear. Just go slowly with lots of love and treats. Never yell or even talk in a loud voice. Short walks then longer walks. Use a training harness. Play music to her when she sleeps. She will come around. Good luck

Unsocialized Aussie
by: Dusty's People

We have a 5 year old mini Aussie which we acquired when she was 3 years old. She was shy and the only people she knew was her breeder and about 20 other dogs. What we did was to always carry treats in our pocket and when we walked her and met other people, we gave the person a treat and had them ask Dusty to sit to receive the treat. Now she thinks everyone out there is friendly and has treats. She will run up to a stranger and sit patiently waiting to be treated.
We also would meet with other dogs and give them treats at the same time we would give Dusty treats.
She has become more open to other dogs her own size and temperament. She is discriminating in her choice of friends. This is OK with her people.

by: Valerie

Thanks everyone for the kind words and advice. I am hopeful she will get more comfortable. She's my first Aussie and I love my little girl and just want her happy :-)

Lure training
by: Anonymous

Just a thought, you might want to avoid lure training ("coaxing" her) since that only shows that she wants whatever you have more than to avoid the stimuli. Try to shape or capture behaviors by clicker training and capturing moments that she is doing well. Looks at another person without freaking out? Click and treat. Pokes her head out from under the bed when someone is over? Click and treat. And so on. That might help her associate new things with something good, and will help her become more curious when you aren't luring her.

Good luck, sounds like you are on the right track either way.

by: Valerie

There is hope. :-)

Its been a slow process but my little girl now goes to the dog park and LOVES IT!

She will approach most people and touch their hand.

She won't ever be super social and will always have issues I'm sure, but she has come a LONG way since her first day with me.

For anyone else with a fearful, un-socialized dog...it gets better. :-)

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