My dog's probably been abused...
These are words we often hear in our world. "My dog is a 'rescue' dog and he is scared of this..that..and this...probably because he's been abused by the previous owners"
Those are the exact words I've used in the past when we adopted Indie. We felt bad, we went into an emotional state of mind of unbalance, we wanted Indie to be loved all day and every day by letting her have it all inside the house and letting her be a dog outside when we went on walks etc. The one thing we did correctly was that we made her wait at threshold at the front door, we made her wait before she dug in her bowl of food and we didn't allow her on valuable items such as our couch or bed. Other than that, she had the freedom of it all. Anyhow, my point is, we let our emotions take over because we knew of her previous owner (a man) who had phyiscally her because she would not drop her ball. We told everyone that Indie was afraid of men because of just that, when in reality, she's just nervous around new people (men or women). Our actions of wanting to love her only made her worse and that is when we started seeing nervous behavior on the walk. She was reactive to people, dogs, squirrels, birds, you name it, anything she saw in her path, she'd want to go after it. It was to the point where Mailee and I just never wanted to walk her again. We were embarrassed. We were the new girls in the neighborhood and we own THAT pit bull. We both got tired of Indie's behavior (clueless that we were actually the problem) so we did our long research to find a dog trainer to help us with Indie's severe leash reactivity. When we found help, we were determined, we had our mind set that we were going to work hard on the walks and that we would do whatever it takes to help educate ourselves and help our dog regardless of the past...So we did just that...we did our work, we spent ridiculous amount of money and endless days training, training and more training. We had put indie's past aside and created a new story to tell...That was our story with Indie...(Today she's still nervous around new people but her way of interacting with strangers is through a game of fetch or tug :) )
This is our story...their stories...we just keep on moving forward to better and bigger things...we never talk about the past, we aren't perfect and neither are our dogs.
Bottom line is, don't be afraid to correct or hold your dogs accountable for their shitty behavior because of their past...Create new stories. Great stories.