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We got our rescue beagle 5 weeks ago. We were told that she was never socialized, and she is 3 years old.

She follows me everywhere in the house and doesn't like to go in the yard without me there. If my husband takes her out, she often looks through the door for me.

She spends most of the day in my home office with me. She lies in her bed, which is about 2 feet away from my chair. The door is open. She could roam the house if she wanted.

However, she seems terrified of me. I can't touch her unless I'm putting on her leash/harness or she's in her bed in my office. My husband can pet her while sitting in his chair. She will even sometimes go to him for petting.

He can walk around the house and she'll pay no attention. When I walk around the house, she runs around to get away then tries to "fall in" behind me."

If I walk around the backyard, she will often just follow me as if she's on a leash.

Recently, she's had a few barking "fits" in the yard. The first two, she was definitely barking at me, and I was able to calm her by walking away and allowing her to follow me around. With the last one, though, she continued barking no matter what I did, even when I went in the house. We were finally able to get her to come inside after several minutes.

She won't take treats from me unless I'm also giving them to our other dog. Sometimes even then, I have to toss them to her.

I never raise my voice to her and, of course, have never raised a hand to her.

When I leave the house and come home, she seems overjoyed to see me. (She doesn't appear stressed when I leave, and she's not destructive, so I don't think it's separation anxiety.) She doesn't seem to care when my husband comes and goes.

She's also less fearful of my son and daughter-in-law when they come over.

She appears to just be scared of me. This morning when I put on her harness, she submissive peed.

My husband only has the use of one hand and is currently in a wheelchair, so he can't take over her care.

So, what can I do to help my dog to not be terrified of me? I want to be able to physically interact with her within the usual boundaries, e.g. petting, scratching, grooming...

  • Hi w e l c o m e to Pets ^.^ – lila Sep 7 at 13:14
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    How you descripe your family, I assume you are the "boss" (even in the eyes of the new dog) of your pack. It seems like the new dog do in no case want to make you angry with her. She do not want to "steel" your food, because you are the leader. But I have only a general interest in dogs, not very much experience. Because of that is this a comment. – Allerleirauh Sep 7 at 14:59
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    Welcome to StackExchange Pets! Please take the tour and have a look at the help center. StackExchange is not a general discussion forum, but a Q&A site, which means that every post must contain one reasonably scoped question. Could you please edit your post and either ask how to stop one specific behavior or a different question? We need this in order to write answers that actually help you without having to write a whole book. If you have more questions after that, you can always create a new post. – Elmy Sep 7 at 15:26
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    @LynnMcNamee: I edited your question to add a specific question. If the question I added in the text does not represent your need, please delete it or modify it as needed. – virolino Sep 8 at 13:54
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I guess that your dog is at the same time loving you and still carrying some old traumas. The best way, in my opinion, is to have patience and gradually learn to socialize - until the dog learns to fully trust you.

Of course, the dog never having been socialized only adds to the problem - which is not a reason to despair anyway.

I wrote some answers for some cats here and here, but the general idea seems to fit your case too.


One more thing to be aware of. Heterosexuality works even inter-species, even if it is not in a sexual way. I mean:

  • female animals / birds will be more attached to male humans;
  • male animals / birds will be more attached to female humans;
  • female animals / birds will be more aggressive towards female humans (jealousy? protection of their "mate"?);
  • male animals / birds will be more aggressive towards male humans (jealousy? protection of their "mate"?);

So, besides the generic problem of a possibly abused / traumatized (rescue) dog, you might have a less obvious issue with "sexuality".

Also, dogs might be friendlier towards children, compared to adults. And dogs, as well as humans, are unique individuals, and might have atypical personality traits.

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