How to help your dog recover from trauma

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dog trauma

*A guest post by HerePup – 

Aren’t dogs one of the cutest creations on the planet? Who would imagine that such selfless and loving creatures can be abused? As shocking as it is, animal abuse is one of the ugly truths of society. According to the statistics gathered by pet, dogs are the most abused animals. It isn’t restricted to directly inflicting violence. Neglecting a pet is also cruelty, one that can cause considerably higher damage and pain. Some owners either deliberately or unintentionally may not provide their dog food, water, or getting them treated for wounds or diseases which would prolong the suffering. All these incidents affect the animal’s well-being not only physically but also mentally. Such animals develop Post Traumatic Stress Order, and it alters their personality.

Dogs that end up in shelters contain a large number of abused pets. If you are adopting an animal from a shelter (which is a great thing indeed), you may bring home a pet with a traumatic past.

How to Identify Signs of Dog Trauma or  Posttraumatic Stress Disorder?

Our furry friends can’t narrate their painful experiences to us, so we have to identify the symptoms ourselves. The common indications include:

  • Fearfulness, an abused dog would run away if people would get too close
  • Whining or barking
  • Loss of appetite
  • They would display separation anxiety and wouldn’t want to be left alone
  • Disinterest in exercise or playing
  • Abused dogs don’t like to socialize with other pets
  • Hypervigilance

dog trauma

How to Help an Abused Dog?

A dog with a past full of traumatizing experiences will be scared when you bring him home, in a completely different environment. You need to assure your pup of safety and security. Prepare a room in the corner of the house which is quiet and peaceful. Don’t expect or force him to mingle and cuddle with everyone in the home.

Don’t force your dog to act a certain way, all they need is a sense of control because unfortunately, that is what the abuse has taken away from them. Enforce positive dog behavior by using the correct training methods. Use your dog’s favorite food as treats and appreciate him for being a good boy. You can consult an animal behaviorist to assess your pup’s condition and devise training programs.

After you bring your pup home, the first few days would be stressful for the animal. You can expect accidents during house-training, and so you would have to be patient. Don’t punish or use a loud tone with them, be very gentle and calm and correct their mistakes.

Always smile at them to show affection and transmit love. Always approach your pooch slowly and be mindful of their personal space.

Your dog might not be interested in exercise, but such activities are vital not only for their physical but also for psychological well-being. Begin by taking your pup for small walks so they can get comfortable with their surroundings.

Some things may cause flashbacks resulting in panicking and fear. Some of these triggers may be difficult to identify at first. But if you notice your pup react with anxiety to any object, sensation or smell, make sure you keep them away from it.

Lastly just keep in mind that persistence is the key. Don’t expect to see changes overnight, it will take time and effort, but gradually you will see positive behaviours in your pup. And when you witness their eyes brighten up with joy, you will realise that it was worth it.


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