Ready

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The last few weeks have been busy making sure Lily’s fully socialised and trained to be ‘a resident dog’. She’s made huge progress and she’s now ready (or as ready as she’ll ever be) to be a tutor for another rescue. She comes when called, walks nicely on and off the lead, sits (as a default behaviour), doesn’t bark at dogs or people we meet, goes to the pub with us, greets visitors politely, stays at home on her own, lets the cats do whatever they want to her. She eats and plays with toys like an ordinary dog (which wasn’t always the case), travels in the car and walks up and down the stairs. She understands quite a few commands and loves doing her tricks (‘roll over’ and ‘crawl’ are my personal favourites). To an untrained eye she’s a perfectly normal, well behaved, happy and playful dog. No major issues. Naturally, we’ll always be careful not to expose her to anything she would be scared of without giving her the choice not to do it.

Well, there’s been a lot of searching, obviously my local shelters and my charity were the first place to look for, but finally we’ve decided to adopt a dog from Romania. I though about it long and hard. I’m not the conscience of the world, I follow my own. I can save a life so I will.

Lily’s going to have a brother.

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22 thoughts on “Ready

  1. That is great!
    I have a question for you: do you have any tips on how to train a dog who is uninterested in training? I’m working with this dog who is an absolute sweetheart but is not interested in food, and doesn’t really respond when I say his name, or when I use a high, squeaky voice, or clap my hands, or whistle, or do any of the things that make most dogs perk up their ears. (He is not deaf, I mean, he has responded to noises.) He will also flop down on the ground and refuse to move.

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    1. I’d do the vet check up first (hormones? is he neutered?). In exactly the same way as a brain tumor can cause aggression, there are conditions that change a dog’s behaviour. Many dogs are not food oriented (Lily isn’t). Do you know if there’s something he really likes that could be used as incentive and/or prize? Time with you, cuddles, being with other dogs ( I use ducks and wood pigeons- Lily chases them ONLY when I let her- but it wouldn’t work with a dog that hunts rather than just chases them). The training sessions are better when they are short (3-5 minutes). Dogs learn and don’t forget what they’ve leart for a few days, so you can train just 3 times a week (a few minutes’ worth 3-4 sessions on a training day and then no training next day). The first thing I teach my dogs is to focus on me (look at me) – so no sunglasses 😉 They are brilliant at reading non-verbal cues, our voice is not the most important tool in training (though can be useful). Remember to ‘finish on high’ too. Training really should be fun (in fact, my dogs love training and want more of it, it’s almost a reward in itself). So, last thing you practise should be done well and rewarded well- use commands he already know to finish each session 🙂 Oh, it’s too much for one comment 😉

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      1. I don’t know if his hearing has ever been checked, but I know that he hears noises such as the chickens making a fuss about something, and he always wants to go investigate. He seems interested in everything except me. He’s pretty young though, I think two years old. He is not really what I’d call a high energy dog; he gets excited about meeting new people but is actually kind of lazy the rest of the time. But I think you are right; maybe he’s not food motivated. I will try using toys, and maybe a different kind of treat as well. If I could just get him to look at me when I say his name, that would be something. Maybe he doesn’t know his name? But he seems like a really healthy, happy dog. Just not exactly, you know, a genius or anything. 😉

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    1. I work (volunteer) for a charity helping abused dogs in Europe – it’s mainly lobbying governments and activities around legal aspect of animal welfare. It was usually Ukraine, Russia and post-soviet states but dogs can’t be brought here from outside the EU. I’ve seen things that I’d rather forget 😦 But, quite recently, I got in touch with a UK charity helping Romanian dogs and I knew I’d consider one of these poor pups (dogs are brutally killed in most public shelters in Romania). The cruelty of my own species is beyond my understanding. Alex (Lily’s human) 🙂

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    1. Thank you 🙂 Well, they obviously have their own form of it. Fortunately their memories are different (or they process past experiences differently) so it’s easier to deal with it than in case of people. And as they rely on their smell so much, it’s actually the smell of something that triggers bad (and good) memories. Ardbeg, even when fully recovered and rehabilitated, would still get back to his cowering, panicky and biting self when he could smell stale alcohol. It was almost as it switched on his old self. I think Stanley Coren explains that quite well (not sure in which book or article, sorry).

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