the1812overture (the1812overture) wrote in thequestionclub,

After months of reading and saying nothing, I'm breaking the ice with a question about dogs.

I got a tiny dog from the Humane Society earlier this year.  She was in a very abusive home where she was used as a breeder.  She had boned that were broken that healed crooked, and she's only about half the size her breed normally is.  Norfolk terriers are already only 12-15 pounds.  She's 7.5.  She's so scared of baths that it's speculated someone may have tried to drown her at some point.  She also has a hard time with her lower back being brushed.

I have big dogs who let her think she rules the roost.  They're maternal old girls who seem to know that tiny one needed a self-esteem boost.  She's come out of her shell and has made best friends with one of our cats.

When she's being held, she laps it up.  She's happy and licks and snuggles.  She's in my lap right now with her head resting on my right wrist.

But.  There's a but.

She's still scared about going to people and walking on leashes.  I can't take her for walks around the neighborhood since she freaks the fuck out on a leash, and she knows us, yet is nervous about approaching us. I pick her up when she jump on the couch.  But otherwise, she'll act like she wants to go to someone, will even start, then panic and back up a few steps.

How can I help her learn to feel okay coming to us?  How can I help her learn to not panic on a leash?  I can deal with the water issue by getting in a bath with her, but I don't know what to do on the first two issues.  She's very special and precious to us, and I want her to not have that panic.  It's heartbreaking that we don't know how to help her handle trauma, and she seems so confused when she clearly wants to be petted, but almost unvoluntarily jumps back.
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