Does Your Dog Trust You… Completely?

Most of my dogs are rescues. Four of Six are rescues. Two are not rescues, I bought them from breeders back in 1999. Each one of my dogs, current and past, are all very unique and different int how they learn, what they like, their mannerisms, and all their little quirks.

Chase sleeping
Chase Sleeping

I have been wondering, lately, how much my dogs actually trust me. I think they trust in context… they trust me in certain situations, and not in others. I think they trust me in most situations.

Lucy and Levi are the dogs that I bought from breeders as puppies, and I think they trust me a great deal.  They let me trim their toenails and handle them when I need to. Of course I tried to work with them when they were little.  Levi doesn’t like it when my pager goes off, and I think he doesn’t trust me that much when it does. Pre-Medication when I got paged I got very upset, and of course he picked up on that. Now, though, I don’t react so badly, but Levi still does react. Even when the same page noise goes off on the TV!  Lucy is very stubborn and sassy, and sure of herself, and I don’t think she has any problems trusting me in just about any situation.

I think Angel trusts us now. She didn’t when she came to live with us. She was afraid of everything. And still she doesn’t want her toenails trimmed, but she suffers it for a constant supply of treats.  I can’t think of a situation where she reacts now in ways that says she doesn’t trust us. So that is good. 🙂

I think Chase trusts us too.  He is good at letting us handle him, his toenails, and all over when we need to. When we go to the vet he hides behind us too. Poor boy.

Tatum Sleeping
Tatum Sleeps

As for Muffit and Tatum, I think they are still learning. The whole point of this post was to wonder if Tatum trusts me or not.  I think Muffit still has his doubts, but he’s only been with us since February 2008… which has been nine months. Angel has been with us for six years, and Chase three years.

Tatum was treated poorly by humans when she lived at the hoarders.  When she had contact with humans at all.  And I think Muffit, also, wasn’t treated well by people. He’s a bit protective of me now and he’s been known to snark at people he’s not sure of. By snark, I mean a fake snap.  I’m 95% sure he wouldn’t actually bite anyone. 🙂 But dogs do have a bite threshold. Just as we do if pushed.

I wonder if rescue dogs will always have a lack of trust for humans. Be it any other human than their family. Or any human, even those in their own family. I guess it depends on the dog and what the dogs have been through. I like to think that my dogs trust me. That I earn their trust, and keep their trust.  i want Muffit and Tatum to trust me more than they do.  Of course with Tatum, instead of a lack of trust, she could just be showing off her sassiness!  Which she does a lot, now.  And I find it interesting with Muffit, that I can touch his feet and toenails just fine when we are sitting together. But if the nail clippers or the dremmel come out, he will not let me near his feet. He will squeal and scream and whine and put his mouth on me.  I find it interesting that he associates nail trimming as bad with all humans. Not just with a past human that hurt him.  He just thinks it’s bad all the way around. I want to convince him it’s not so bad after all!

So do your dogs trust you? Are they rescues or did you buy them as a puppies? I’m just curious. 🙂

15 thoughts on “Does Your Dog Trust You… Completely?”

  1. That’s really interesting. One of my dogs, Nala the pit bull, trusts me completely and totally. I can do anything to her at any time. Absolutely nothing I do to her scares her or upsets her. I’ve often remarked that I would love to have that kind of trust in anyone. I’ve had her since she was 7 weeks old.

    Rocco, on the other hand is a whole different story. There are times when he seems afraid of me. He will skitter away and avoid me. I don’t know what sets him off, maybe I move to quickly or when he doesn’t see me. He will not ever let me touch his paws – he hates that. Doing his nails is a real ordeal. I’ve had him since he was 6 weeks old. So who knows what’s going on there.

    I had a rescue dog that was always scared and afraid of people and animals. She loved us but she always seemed to sleep with one eye open. I tried so hard to make her life good since she had such a bad start. I still wish I could have done more in the 5 years we had her 🙁

    Flos last blog post..It’s always something

  2. Celeste trusts me enough so I can order her into the shower to get cleaned without putting up the baby gate. Perhaps there’s some obedience mixed in or submission, but those things always overlap.

    Dublin loves me so much he’d probably do anything I’d say, but he has his trust quirks. Like food. I think he was a taste tester for royalty in a past life. Sniff. Ponder. Sniff. Ponder. Take with tip of teeth and drop on floor. Sniff. lick. Maybe eat.

    I made a horrible mistake with Mercury. When his teeth were coming in his lower canine punched through without dislodging the puppy tooth. It was obviously irritating him and so I put some ambesol on his gums and yanked it out. He was not happy about the whole thing, and in retrospect I’d rather of had him in a little pain at the tooth instead of being suspicious of me for causing him pain. The cute little canine memento wasn’t worth the months of being on my best behavior to earn back that trust.

    Focusing on one-on-one training seems to have done the trick, he’s now the most obedient and trusting of the bunch.

    I’ve noticed that BCs have quirks that might be misinterpreted as abuse (almost every rescued is said by their new owners to have been abused) but might be inbred quirks and lack of socialization. My little Gemma, for instance, was perfectly brave with visitors and people as a small pup, but then she developed a fear of visitors and I know nothing in particular set it off.

    It might have been an unremarkable experience during a fear period, say another dog barking at a Frisbee competition or a dog interaction that I didn’t pick up on. But nothing that you would consider outside of normal socialization. She’s getting a lot better, but I don’t know what I could have done otherwise.

    Christophers last blog post..The Myth of Christmas Puppies

  3. Hi,

    Your research on pet trusting is really wonderful and very much useful for the dog owners like me. I think the dogs which have raised from childhood (???) can be trusted more than the rescued adult dog.

    Dogomanias last blog post..Why Your Dog Urinates On The Rug Right In Front Of You When You Come Home?

  4. I think our rescues (Dennis and Trixie) both trust us completely. Of course, Trixie has been here for eight years or so, so her days in the pound and as a foster are only distant memories.

    We can tell Dennis trusts because, when something scares him, if we point to it and tell him it’s not scary and encourage him to check it out, he will. 😉

  5. Interesting topic.

    Neeko is no where near trust yet.

    Jake was a puppy when we got him (the only one that was a puppy when he came into our home) and I believe he trusts me 100%. Zoe was a rescue and she did not trust us in the beginning at all. Now, I can do pretty much anything to her and she is a ok. Sometimes, she still gets upset when not with her pack – but is that trust issue?

    Now Maddie – she has come a very long way and I believe she has just recently learned to trust me. She is always watching me when we are out – but is that trust or focus – lol

    Anyway, again, great topic for your blog post

  6. Our rescue dog Daisy has come a long way in a year but she can still be suspicious. If she is in a new environment she is still very guarded and she sticks very close. I still don’t think she 100% trusts that something bad won’t happen to her.
    When she is at home now though she is so full of confidence and it is lovely to see. I still wonder what her little story was. She was only about 4 months old when we got her.

  7. Marley trusts me 100%. She knows I love and won’t hurt her. She’s a rescue and was a bit older when I got her. I adopted Dylan as a rescue puppy. He doesn’t trust me 100% but he has gotten a lot better the past few years.

    Christys last blog post..Happy Late Thanksgiving!

  8. Our mutt Rusty (a street rescue who was past his puppyhood when we got him) seems to trust us completely. It doesn’t matter what we are doing to him he seems okay with it. Brushing his teeth, clipping his nails, picking him up, rolling him on his back. Whatever we want to do he’s okay with it. He runs away when its bath time, but I think that’s a hatred of baths more than a trust issue.

    Boomer we got from the pet store I once worked at. He was still a little thing when we got him, but he seems to be lacking trust. He cringes when there are loud noises or sudden movements. He hangs his head and looks pitiful when we have to give him medicine (he has a lot of medical problems) or do basic things like brush his teeth and trim his nails.

    Nonas last blog post..Meet Lizzie

  9. I guess it just depends on each dog and their experiences and how long they’ve lived with you. The ones who’ve lived with you the longest trust you the most, right? Well, sort of.

    I guess it also depends on how we define trust. Ace trusts me to handle him, lead him, pick him up, etc. Even when he’s unsure, he follows me. The few times he doesn’t listen to me are when something else is more interesting to him like a neighbor’s dog in our yard. I think if he trusted me 100 percent, he wouldn’t have a need to bark at strange dogs and to not come when called! He would let me take care of it. So, we’re getting there …

  10. I would say that Moxie trusts me entirely. When I first rescued her, she was scared of everyhing. Through years of protecting her and showing her that no harm will come to her when she is with me. Even with toenail trimming, she doesn’t like it, but she come to me and stays still for it. She knows she gets a cookie when its over. She’s my best friend, and I wouldn’t betray her trust for the world.

    Rachaels last blog post..I really need to be better about updating this thing.

  11. I’ve had my dog, Jack, for about 4 years. He is a rescue and still pretty jumpy. Any loud noise or sudden move will send him running. I suppose he trusts me but can’t help being frightened by loud noises or new object. I guess he will always be that way.

    nicholi@gmail.coms last blog post..My Christmas Playlist

  12. It’s a shame that people mistreat dogs. I think these dogs will have a hard time trusting, but in time that will improve. Any dog that is raised from a pup in a loving family is more likely to trust easily.
    .-= AJ @ Pedipaws Pet Nail Trimmers´s last blog ..Unique Dog Halloween Costume Ideas – Take Your Doggie Trick-Or-Treating =-.

  13. I have a friend who just brought home a rescued dog… He’s afraid of everything and we have no idea what he has been through…
    .-= Jon´s last blog ..Famiy Dog Training Tips + The Story Behind My Battle For Pack Leadership =-.

  14. I have owned Jasper since he was a puppy.

    With as wild and rambunctious that Weimaraners are, it could be a bit nerve racking to a new Weim owner. Most of these dogs are given up for adoption because of their wild and almost ‘weird human like’ behavior.

    Some folks just have a hard time understanding their breed and human like personality. These dogs need to be socialized as much as possible with other humans and dogs as early as possible in their puppy hood/adolescence. This will help reduce their separation anxiety that you and your weim will experience later on in life.

    These dogs need to be close to their owners all the time. If you are the type of person that just wants a cute dog and not have to spend very much time with your dog then it is highly advised NOT to own one of these dogs as you will just experience a MASSIVE amount of frustration.

    On the other hand if you are the type of person that loves the outdoors and you are highly active with various recreational activities plus you’d like to have a dog that can keep up with you then the Weim is your breed.

    You will get a kick out of watching them perform on the outdoors while bike riding, running or walking.

    They love to hunt game as that is in their very nature…

    So whats all this have to do with trust? Well, these dogs require an exclusive relationship with you and your family.

    They are excellent with kids and posses a weird ability NOT to bite or snap at your child when he or she is relentlessly yanking on your weims ears.

    They will show you enduring trust the more time that you spend with them.

    On the other hand, one funny thing that we personally
    experience when taking Jasper to the vet is an uncanny ability to escape and RUN for dear life at the first experience of walking through a vets front door. Weird, I know. But since we are talking about quirky, un-trusting behavioral things that dogs do, I figured I’d name one.

    As far as personal trust goes from my experience in dealing with dogs, the more you give (time and treats), the more you get (trust).

    The same holds true with human relationships. The more
    your there for the other person physically and emotionally the more trust you will tend to gain with that person.

    One last thing… Weims can come off as very non-trusting toward strangers and this stems from their incredible sense of protection that they have over their ‘pack’ or you.

    Nick N.

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