Baby steps

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Brian was terrified of so many things when he arrived. So in the first two weeks I just focused on making him feel secure, providing safe environment and routine, trying to build trust.There’s been no formal training yet. However, every action causes a reaction, every decision has consequences. If I let myself forget about it, I’d fail my dogs. I do think carefully how I interact with Brian, how I introduce his new world to him. IMG_2555.JPG

Each of my dogs has a ‘portfolio’. I make notes about what they like, dislike, what is unusual about them, how quickly they respond to various stimuli. Time is precious, the more information I have, the easier it is to prevent problems or solve them if they occur.IMG_2560

I’ve made sure Brian knows his name-it’s never used for anything else, but to get his attention. It will never mean ‘I’m annoyed with you’. He’s slowly learning people are not a threat. He probably wasn’t exposed to people for the first few weeks of his life, so it might always be an issue. It might also be that his mother had taught him to run and hide whenever a human is approaching. Romanian dog catchers are notorious for killing stray dogs in most horrible ways, so fear of people is vital for survival. Unfortunately, it didn’t save Brian’s mum, she did get killed the day she got captured. Brian gets better with strangers every day-when we walk we ignore them, I make sure he can hide or walk away, I pet him and make Lily play with him for a bit. IMG_2579.JPG

I never punish him for chewing stuff. If I liked material objects more than dogs, I wouldn’t have dogs. I simply take away the thing he shouldn’t chew and give him something else, a toy, a kong, a chewable treat.

Even though I haven’t started training, Brian comes when called. I wouldn’t trust him to do it 100% of times, so when he runs freely, he’s dragging a long, light training lead behind. It’s important to make him come to me every time, I have to be the biggest reward, the one that is ALWAYS worth coming to. I’ve said it numerous times and I will say it ad nauseam: ‘come when called’ can save a dog’s life. So, from day one, Brian was rewarded every time he did it.

Lily’s patient, she gets lots of attention to make sure she doesn’t feel her position is under threat. She’s also ‘work in progress’ because of her fear issues, but she seems to cope really well with the additional burden of being a role model for a tiresome puppy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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16 thoughts on “Baby steps

  1. Love this post, wonderful photos of a pup gaining in confidence all the time- Lily is lovely as always of course! The amount of love, care and time you put into your dogs made me quite emotional, such common sense training and attention is a beautiful thing : )

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      1. hmm, I doubt people would like my attitude, I over-think everything apparently (or, as I see it, everything in the world is connected in one way or another, so whatever we do has consequences, every minute detail of our actions contributes to the future – even if we can’t notice it at first). Even if I try to simplify, I come up with things like: ‘when you shout you just admit you’ve failed’ which gives me puzzled expressions…

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      2. You see, that makes perfect sense to me…no-one should shout at any one or any animal. I hate to see people shouting at children- when my two were little, and able to talk, if they were crying I would always ask what the matter was and what could I do to help, not shout at them to stop crying. Same with animals, I never use their names in anger, only love. As for over-thinking, that’s a positive “fault”, if more thought were employed in all aspects of life, the world would be a better place! Rant over…

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    1. he was about 6-7 weeks old, some lady who saw the dog catchers packed all the puppies to her shopping bag and took them home (she thought she’d leave them in the British charity run shelter, but fortunately, they all got to a foster home, so they never went to a shelter). The charity workers went to the ‘state shelter’ (they really are slaughterhouses) to fetch the mother next day but it was too late. Brian’s story is not even that bad. Unfortunately, if governments of the countries with this sort of issues don’t do anything, the situation is not going to change much.

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      1. At least the puppies did not see their mother being killed, so it’s not so bad for Brian, you’re right. Governments of those countries don’t do anything to protect their people, so how can they be expected to protect animals!

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      2. I know 😦 Poverty and frustration means animal welfare is just one of millions of problems. There were so many issues we considered before adopting Brian (he’s not from my charity). But, like with all my dogs: I couldn’t not to. Love and all that…(there’s a book about what makes us choose the dogs we do, by Stanley Coren, but I like the compact word ‘love’)

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  2. We had pretty much all those issues (and a few additional ones) with Ray, and totally agree with your approach. I think it should be stressed however, that training any dog (regardless of its history) is likely to be a long term program. I hear so many people complaining about the training they are doing and, after a whole week, they still seem to have issues!
    Our Ray has been a “work in progress” for just over 3 years now, and probably always will be as a result of some unknown aspects of his past. Is he worth it? Absolutely. The progress he has made, and the family member that he become, is priceless. It just takes some education about dogs; some perseverance, and lots of patience! 🙂
    For anybody who is interested in possibly adopting a rescued dog, the first 18 months of working/living with Ray have been documented in a book “Who said I was up for adoption?”

    https://www.amazon.com/Who-Said-Was-Up-Adoption/dp/1460280059/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1467556072&sr=1-1&keywords=who+said+i+was+up+for+adoption

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lovely to see how relaxed and safe Brian feels at home, with Lily looking all ‘mumsy’. Knowing he has a safe home where he feels loved is the best foundation and everything else will follow. He has a cheeky glint in his eye and is one of those dogs who just makes you smile :o)

    Liked by 1 person

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