As an adult, I have noticed a positive direction in the mental and emotional health industry. We are no longer afraid to talk about trauma. There are many different modalities that address childhood trauma as well as other traumas. Yet, when it comes to animals, humans react differently. Allow me to explain.
When we adopt an animal, they come with a set of issues (mostly) created before their life began with you. They may have experiences in their past that were not very kind; many experience cruelty, starvation, and neglect. Obviously not every rescue has trauma. I am addressing the souls that have experienced trauma.
So when they are rescued, humans tend to think in two ways: 1) they overcoddle them to try to make up for the bad life that came before, and 2) They expect the animal to be so grateful for their new life that they forget what happened before. Both of these reactions are not necessarily helpful.
While we may not always know the full story of their past, you can hire an animal communicator like myself (there are many of us to choose from!) to get the animals' point of view on things and to gain an understanding of what they are feeling and thinking. While we are not behaviorists, as with any relationship, communication is the key. That is a great starting point. Next, I would allow your new animal companion time to decompress. They are the ones going through changes and you and your friend need time to adjust to each other and to new routines. While staring is considered rude, this is a great time to closely watch your friend. Observing their reactions and behaviors can give you a lot of insight into their developing personality. Most importantly, have patience and give love freely. The more comfortable they are with you, the easier they will adapt and learn to trust again.
While it is natural for us to want to protect and shelter them, be careful of withholding experiences. They need to learn to trust themselves and others. Every interaction with another dog or human with you by their side brings them one step closer to gaining confidence and making friends. Take baby steps if your animal friend is very scared, but take steps. Encourage being social. Remember that animals pick up on your emotions. They will react with fear if you are anxious
Here is a young girl who had a traumatic beginning. Thankfully she is now with someone who loves her and is kind. She is super happy being home with her new family. It is the outside world that still makes her act out. After our session, Suzie understood what was expected and was also able to express to her human things that trigger her. They both are eager to work together She doesn't want to be difficult. No animal does. Suzie is a beautiful girl and I look forward to hearing about her progress!