As another week is wrapping itself up, I would like to take a moment and talk about rescue dog’s and some issues you may encounter when opening your home and heart to one. This week I received a phone call from a couple, they recently acquired a chihuahua that had some issues. The dog had not been physically abused, but in a way was mentally and emotionally traumatized. She was a breeding dog, won quite a few awards, came from a very good bloodline, produced some good offspring. Her first couple of years was spent in this kennel environment, used for proper breeding and taken care of but not much of an interactive life.
Then she went to another home where she was going to be used again for breeding. For unknown reasons that did not take place, she spent the next couple of years with two other little dogs in a home but still not much interaction. This particular owner came to a point where they were no longer able to care for the dog properly, thank goodness they were able to reach out and find respectable people to purchase her.
Her new and final owners quickly discovered she was going to need some professional help. Even with their knowledge of small dogs and love of her, tips and advice from other people, they had been unable to figure out why the dog constantly barks and growls and even attacks the man of the house. The dog, we will call her Lucille, is attached to the lady, follows her everywhere, has not an issue one with her. But the man, completely opposite. They worked for weeks trying new things, giving Lucille time to adjust, but it just progressively got worse. Some people even said it would be best if they just put the dog down she was so mean and aggressive. But that was not an option for them.
They finally called me, at the end of their rope and almost out of options. We made an appointment for an evaluation, coming from the background and history it’s always best to assess the dog and let them tell you what they got going on. They do speak to you if you are open to listening.
My head trainer and I go into their home with some information but we like to keep an open mind. The dog will not come close, won’t even go over to the lady of the house because we are in the same room! She growls and barks at the man just because he is there. But it is clear to both myself and my trainer that it is not aggression that is driving her, she is very fearful and insecure. She has spent her entire life, 4 years away from new people with the exception of trading owners one time. She has not had interactions at all with anything new so this entire experience is completely taking her out of her comfort zone. She attached herself to the lady as her rescuer, but is not comfortable at all with the man. And she constantly seeks out the shelter of the woman’s arms to protect her.
We set their minds at ease, they will not have to put this cutie down. With some dedication, hard work and patience we will all be able to work with her to help pull her out of her shell and make her a great fit into their family. We had our first lesson a couple of days ago, and by the time we finished up the man was able to walk her on a leash without her growling or barking. A huge step for both her and him, and it gives them hope that she will be fine.
A lot of times a rescue dog, even if it comes from a good home, can come with some “baggage” and/or issues. You must be prepared to deal with and properly address those issues when/if they arise. Emotionally unstable dogs can usually become great family members, but most times they will not work very well if you are looking for an outgoing, social companion. Match the dog with what you are looking for in your life, and don’t get too much “dog” for what you need or can handle. It is not fair to either yourself, your family or the dog. Be a smart but positive dog owner!
Well, that’s it for today’s Friday Facts. Enjoy your weekend, be safe this Friday the 13th and I will see you again next Friday.