Home > Dog Behavior, Maggie, Pine River puppy mill, puppy mill dogs, Puppy Mills > Maggie: Puppy mill dog progress is measured in small steps

Maggie: Puppy mill dog progress is measured in small steps

IMG_6217Maggie has made some great progress over the past few weeks and month. She might not be ready for a new home yet, but she is definitely heading in that direction. She eats and drinks comfortably in and outside of her kennel. She no longer needs to be led inside and outside the house most days. She now follows the herd, and sometimes, she even beats them to it and gets to the door first!

One of the things she does well inside the house, but not outside, is coming to me for treats. She will hop up on the couch next to me when called and she will engage in hand-targeting easily, but outside she keeps her distance from me.

Like many shy dogs, Maggie is afraid of someone approaching her while they are facing her. It is scary to have someone looming over you when you are a shy dog (actually many dogs hate looming, not just mill dogs). To have someone come towards you and loom? Terrifying. Maggie will run to the opposite side of the yard to maintain a comfortable distance from me at all times. She trusts me, but only so far. There is safety in distance. Maggie loves cheese

To help Maggie with this I have been slowly working her up to being more comfortable with looming. This is something I have been looking forward to trying now that we all can be outside without freezing our patooties off. Debbie Jacobs of Fearfuldog’s Blog, first shared this idea with me soon after I started fostering Maggie. She did the same thing with her dog, Nibbles. (Thank goodness for her Nibbles videos!)

I started by tossing cheese to Maggie and my dogs while sitting in a chair on the patio (Maggie loves cheese and the word “cheese”). Then I started asking my dogs for tricks for cheese while Maggie watched and got tossed a few pieces here and there. This drew her nearer to me as she wanted very much to have more cheese (“More cheese, please!”). Over the past few days, she has been steadily getting closer and closer to me in anticipation of getting more cheese.

Yesterday, I decided to switch it up a bit and stand in the yard and toss cheese to all four dogs. Of course, my dogs were ALL over that. Maggie kept her distance, but she would run in to nab a piece the other dogs missed. After doing this intermittently throughout the day, last night I decided to try to see if she would participate in a game of hand-targeting with me looming over her. She watched for a while as the other dogs all touched my had and got a piece of cheese., then started moving closer and closer. From time to time, I would offer her a chance to touch my hand, but always she would back off. Then, just as I was starting to run out of cheese, she did it! She targeted my hand twice while I was standing and looming over her! Yay Maggie! #Camera360分享#

I think we’ll keep working on this one for a while, until she feels much more comfortable with looming, but I am hoping we’ll be working up to walking on a leash in the yard soon. Cross your fingers!

Curious about looming and what Debbie Jacobs did to help her dog, Nibbles, become comfortable with it? I’ve attached the video here, but to read the whole story on Nibbles and looming, go to her post titled, “Learning to like looming.”

  1. May 5, 2014 at 7:54 AM

    I’m glad you are there for Maggie. Thanks to you for all your work.

  2. May 5, 2014 at 8:23 AM

    Yeah Maggie. So happy to read about her progress and that your hard work is paying off. Love the video. While our Maggie has gotten much better with looming, there are still times when that skittishness kicks in – this is a good exercise.

  3. May 5, 2014 at 8:58 AM

    You are so amazing. Maggie is going to be an awesome dog for someone to love, all thanks to your work with her.

  4. fredrieka
    May 5, 2014 at 10:23 AM

    small but dog mighty steps! High Paw

  5. May 5, 2014 at 12:10 PM

    Congrats on the progress you’ve made with Maggie! I foster as well, I can see you’ve got a big challenge after what she’s been through. Your dogs will help Maggie so much, I know mine do. I use Jiff-to-go peanut butter cups a lot. I hold the cup in front of the dog and while they’re lost in the joy of licking it I’m able to pet the top of their heads and their entire body. It helps get them used to lots of touch and associate all kinds of touch positively.
    – Catherine Armato, Extreme dog lover

  6. May 5, 2014 at 4:08 PM

    Yes, H Paw! I just can’t get my doggie to make the transition to “other people”…. So frustrating. Combo of two meds, etc.

  7. May 5, 2014 at 6:25 PM

    Maggie is really making fantastic progress! Do you think she’ll be able to transfer what she’s learned with you to someone else?

  8. May 6, 2014 at 8:58 AM

    Yay Maggie! I’ve been watching her progress on FB and Instagram and she has come such a long way! You are doing an amazing job Mel!

  9. May 7, 2014 at 2:23 PM

    Reblogged this on cominghomerescue and commented:
    Nice work with Nibbles! Please give him a piece (or two or three) of chicken for us!

  10. May 8, 2014 at 4:36 PM

    You’re doing great work, Mel! Maggie is one luck girl. Gentle hugs for her! xx

  11. May 14, 2014 at 8:18 AM

    Way to go Maggie!

  12. May 14, 2014 at 1:40 PM

    I’m so glad she’s made such progress! The rescue couldn’t have put her in better hands!

  13. Sonya
    June 5, 2014 at 12:46 PM

    I adopted my third rescue in February of this year. She wasn’t from a puppy mill, but a hoarding situation of over 100 dogs. Jewel is a tiny, 5 lb. chihuahua, and is probably between 3-5 years old. From day one, she has been comfortable with my dogs and other dogs, but petrified of people. She is slowly showing signs that she is becoming a little more comfortable with me by following me around the house, but freaks out if you approach her or try to pick her up. My other chihuahua was traumatized following her adoption, but took to me right away. Any advice anyone has would be much appreciated!

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