So my stepdad use to abuse my dog, hitting him with a broom, and kicking him and more. I did not know about this till I came home from school and saw him beating my beloved dog, I told my mother and they sorted that out and my old stepdad doesn’t live with me anymore nor is he allowed anywhere by my family, but that was one year ago and the dog still acts scared of people, even me.

One day like a few months ago, my dog was trying to rip open a packet of m&m's candies and he was under my bed, he wouldn’t come out when I told him too I felt so bad but I had to forcefully pull him out from under the bed, and I felt so bad, also once my dog was barking at another dog why we were on the walk i was pulling on the leash and I don’t know I wasn’t thinking but I pulled the leash a little to hard hoping he would stop, he kinda flung across the sidewalk and I felt horrible too, and over the past year I ran into him a few times why I was walking so have my siblings and my mother but my dog never really liked them, I even on accidentally dropped him while carrying him to the car to go to the vet.

But today, I can’t even look at myself, I am disgusted with myself, so what happened was I was babysitting my younger siblings and we were playing soccer, my dog was outside and I was running toward the soccer ball and my dog likes to run around so he was just running around the yard and as I was getting the ball he ran right in front of me and I on accidentally stepped on him, like hard! He was crying for like 30 minutes and I was to comfort him and we got straight on the phone with the vet. Luckily he is OK but I can’t live with myself and feel so bad and now he is scared of me. I we’ll come to pet him and he we’ll put his ears down and his tell between his legs, and he well not listen to me as well, which is sad. I want my baby back.

Sorry, this is random, but me and my friends were also riding longboards with my dog and my friend had dog and my dog kinda stopped in front of her longboard and my friend kicked my dog too, he has gone through a lot and I just feel like it’s all my fault. How do I make him trust me again and be playful and help him know I am truly sorry?

He just turned 3 and he is a Bichon frisé, a small dog, he is very energetic and is kinda stubborn but I love him and he deserves the world.


1 Answer 1


The first step you should take is a big deep breath. You most certainly are not a terrible owner! Accidents happen. The fact that you feel bad about it and are looking at how to rectify the situation means you are an amazing owner.

Gaining trust back from a dog like your pup depends on how resilient your pup is. Some dogs will bounce back within hours, a day or two, or take a couple weeks. So, try to be as patient as possible. The most important thing right now is to not force yourself onto your dog unless absolutely needed. This means no going up to your dog to pet him, etc. Everything needs to be on his terms - instead of you going up to him, have him come to you. If he doesn't want to come to you, just leave him be. Giving him the choice will make him feel MUCH less scared. If he wouldn't be scared of the feeling/noise, having him drag his leash (clipped to his collar, but no one holding it) around. That way if you HAVE to move him for some reason, you're not coming up to him/picking him up, etc. You can just grab the leash from 6 feet away. It's a lot less stressful for him keeping that distance.

Using treats is an option, and I recommend to do so. At this point I would honestly skip any actual dog treats and go right for something SUPER yummy. I'm talking hot dog slices, cheese, etc. Cut them up into tiny pieces. Just keep a baggy of them on you at all times. Any time your dog ventures anywhere near you, without looking at him toss a treat towards him. This is going to start re-associating you with good things instead of the bad experience he had.

Talk to him using a quiet and calm voice, instead of the high pitched happy baby voice. Give him lots of encouragement in this tone. Make sure to know his stress signals. The fact that you know the ears back/tail tuck is a good start. Dogs have many stress signals that people often miss. In addition to the ears and the tail, watch for whale eyes (able to see the whites of his eyes more than normal), tensing of the face, yawning when not tired, licking his lips, looking pointedly away from you. These are all signals that dogs give each other (and us!) to say "Hey I'm uncomfortable, I mean no harm, please stop". If he's giving you these signals back off a foot or two to take the pressure off him.

The most important tip I can give you though is to be patient. I've worked with semi-feral dogs, abused dogs, puppy mill dogs, and neglected/undersocialized dogs for 11 years and the most crucial piece of advice I can ever give is to go slow and be patient. If he is a normally nervous dog, one thing to think of for the long term is to talk to your vet about anxiety medication. Anxiety meds can be a huge game changer for a pup like yours, it can help his brain tell his body to relax and not always be on edge.

I wish you luck to you and your pup <3

  • Ok tysm, I think he is going to take longer then other dogs cause of his past but I we’ll work on it.
    – user17937
    May 13, 2020 at 18:14

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