Hi all, First time dog owner here (though my parents always had them growing up). I have learned quite a lot in the past couple months, but I don't think I was fully prepared for adopting a previously abused rescue dog. Ive been relentlessly reading and bothering a trainer acquaintance with questions (its getting to the point where I think I should start paying her lol). So I got a chihuahua puppy (16 weeks old now) from a rough looking home in a worse city. Their dogs had pups and when I saw him I couldnt say no. I had to get him out of there. It wasnt a puppy mill situation, they just seemed like they were neglectful owners. The little guy had worms, fleas, and sores. He's doing much better now after his first two vet visits. The reason I am writing is that he is incredibly fearful of me. I have always been gentle and patient with him (understanding of the situation he came from), so he has no reason to fear me (or people) other than his past experiences. I want to socialize him, potty train him with pee pads for now (forget outside - he shuts down in terror), and generally just make him more comfortable around me and at home. He wont eat or go to the bathroom when I am present making it very difficult for me to train him on pads (though he does pretty well with the exception of the few times puppy spunk has gotten the better of him and he drags his soiled pad across my apartment lol). I know these things take time and it has only been about a month since I got him, Im just unsure how to train him or instill confidence when he wont even come out of his crate or take a treat when I offer it (or even toss it in his direction because, like I mentioned, he wont eat when Im around). Every time I try to research extremely fearful dogs all that comes up is info on how to deal with aggression. This puppy doesn't have an aggressive bone in his body. Never bites, growls, barks, chews anything, nothing. I know he doesn't bark or howl because my downstairs neighbors can hear him running and playing when Im not around, but when I get home, he's back to his crate and refusing to eat, potty, or come out. The most he has done is pee on my couch while I was out of the apartment, so Ive started crate training him while Im gone. The problem is that I don't want to crate him while Im gone, only to have him not potty or come our for exercise when I return. I feel a little stuck and I don't want to rush him or pull him out of his crate - things Ive read say not to with scared dogs. Is tough love best here? If I open his crate to let him potty and play only when Im around will he eventually get the hint? Or will he just refuse to go to the bathroom until he soils his crate? Sorry for the novella! Just desperate for advice and cant find any info on this particular situation online. Thanks!