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Pet Rescue/Adoption/New Puppy with No Human Socialization


Hi. I just adopted a puppy who I am fairly certain has had little to no human socialization. She is three months old and fine with other dogs but does not want anyone near her, even me. I know that I have not had her for long and need to build trust with her but not sure where to start since she wants nothing to do with me or anyone else. I even have offered her treats and she will not take them from me. I have trained very outgoing dogs before but none that are this shy. Any help regarding how I should approach training would be great.

Hi Katie,
Congratulations on the adoption! This is one very blessed dog to have you!
Something you can try that has helped me and a few others is get a cozy cage for her. Sit next to her and speak softly offering her a very desired treat. Most dogs LOVE tiny bits of a warm hot dog. Very tiny so she doesn't fill up. Do this in a small room where you can close the door so its just you and the puppy. If the room is small enough with nowhere for her to hide you don't need the cage. Only take her out of the room to use the potty. This will allow her to feel safe without a lot of stimulation. I'd do this every hour and a half for about half an hour or so during the day- if you can for faster results. Also feed her meals in there with you present. I've had success usually within a couple of days. First put the small bit of hot dog on the floor away from you. Working your way to her taking it out of your hand. I have what I call a rehab room for this situation. All anxious new ones would go there for the first few days. It contained beds, food dishes and toys. Keep all other animals out so she has only you for attention, affection,etc.

I had a puppy mill rescue that was very unsocialized at age 5 but she did eventually come around and loved being held. I'm so glad your pup has such a caring pet parent!

Please let me know if there is anything else I can do to help. I'd love to hear her progress if you'd like to share an update!

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Ruthie Augustein


Ask me anything about rescue and adoption. I've been involved in rescue for over twenty years. I have experience in rehabbing abused dogs, adoptions and rescue efforts.


I've run my own rescue for over twenty years. I have experience with timid and/or aggressive dogs. I have a 99% successful adoption rate. I am a hands on and out of my home rescuer.

I've written numerous (published) open letters to the local papers.

It's been a hands on experience. Though I have read and continue to read everything I can on the topic.

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