I adopted a ten year old chihuahua-dachshund that is nearly blind and toothless And she lived in a puppy mill until she was rescued (I feel like these are relevant details. I adopted her in in late September.

She used to love me, and she followed me everywhere and when I came home, she would run up to the door with her tail wagging, I could pick her up with no issue and she would let me hold her, but something changed within her mind and I want to reverse it.

I know what caused it- I need to reverse the damage.

My church has a small group that used to meet every other week at someone's house, eat lunch, and read our bible and reflect on it, and with family comes children.

There were a couple girls that are there, and they are extremely rude and they wouldn't stop picking up my dog, and they were holding her incorrectly. Whenever I saw them with her, I would command them (calmly) to give me my dog, because she clearly doesn't like being held by you.

Every time I saw her with MY DOG, I would have my dog handed to me, I would rub her tummy and then I would hold her (properly) and put her inside where the adults were.

You see, the thing is, when Little One was in her cage or with my mother, the girls would take her from the adult and hold her.

One time, I told her to give her to me, and she said no. I was furious. I know I'm seventeen, and she is twelve, but I have a mental thing, and when I was told that someone five years to my junior was not going to give my dog to me, or stop picking her up, I started crying, and when she left, I started throwing scrabble pieces.

Now, she only comes out for me when I co e home, she looks at me and realizes that I'm not my mother, and walks back in her cage. When I want to hold her, she runs away from me and growls. If I want to hold her, I have to have my mother pick her up for me, and if she sees mum walking past me, she flails to try and get out of my arms and to her instead. It's been like this for three months and everybody always says to give it time, but it's only gotten worse with time.

I give her food every day. I'm not allowed to give my dogs walks because we are in between a huskie, and two Australian shepherds, I'm not "big enough" to handle what would happen if they attacked her. She doesn't play with toys (idk why... Probably something to do with the puppy mill), but she enjoys musicals, and Harrison Ford's Sabrina.

I really want my dog back. It's not my mothers, she's mine and I need her.

  • 1
    Is your dog grumbling when other people try and pick it up? Or just you?
    – Sobrique
    Apr 28, 2015 at 11:25
  • Regarding the 'throwing scrabble pieces' incident - was that at the dog?
    – Sobrique
    Apr 28, 2015 at 11:29

1 Answer 1


First off - there's no quick fix. 3 months may seem a long time to you, but it's not really. If a dog is upset about something, or formed a negative association, then it might take considerably longer to 'work through'. This is especially true of rescue dogs - they have had hard lives, and so trust doesn't come easily.

I would suggest the root of the problem here is that your dog is saying 'no thank you' to being picked up, and you're ignoring that. Think if you will, about someone intruding on you when you don't feel like it - every time they do, you're going to get more resentful about it, not less.

And I'm afraid it may never be the case that your dog learns to accept being 'handled' again, and you may need to simply accept that.

For rebuilding trust with a dog, I would suggest what you need to do is start doing some training. This is teaching both of you how to interact and communicate with each other. Have you done much yet? If you don't know much about it, then going to a training class will help both of you. If you have, then learning a few more tricks. Give your dog some attention and interaction - aim for 30m a day.

Ideally more walking would be good too - dogs are animals that like to walk or run or play, and your walkies time is actually good for your mutual bonding. I appreciate there's reasons why that's a bit more difficult in your situation - but perhaps consider going somewhere else (a field nearby?) and taking your dog out a bit more. Just bear in mind that as a rescue with eyesight problems - your dog isn't going to be particularly comfortable or relaxed, especially around other dogs.

  • 3
    In addition to more walks, and training (VITAL, if you ask me), occasionally just sit near her, have something she is interested in, let HER approach YOU. See if she climbs onto your lap for a treat... and let her climb off again when she wants to. Above all, have patience, and learn to read her signals. I know patience can be hard, but with a dog, it can be EXTREMELY rewarding.
    – Layna
    Apr 28, 2015 at 13:46
  • Good point. Bribery is very effective with doggies. Tripe sticks especially!
    – Sobrique
    Apr 28, 2015 at 13:48
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    Also, talk to your mother and see if the two of you can agree on some rules about who is allowed to hold the dog, for how long, and under what conditions. That way both of you will be prepared the next time a bunch of kids are in the house.
    – mhwombat
    Apr 28, 2015 at 19:00
  • 1
    Also, remember that exposed belly is NOT automatically a request for a belly rub. For most animals that's a signal that they accept you and accept that you are dominant, but actually rubbing the exposed belly confuses them until they figure out that it's just friendly grooming/cuddling. Go easy and gradual on that, and don't push it if the dog says no -- just as you reserve the right to object if someone is tickling you when you're not in the mood. This goes along with the suggestion to let the dog come to you.
    – keshlam
    Apr 29, 2015 at 14:45

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