This week I had a lesson with a client who rescued a little young 5 # male dog that appears to be a terrier/chihuahua mix. She worked hard to rescue this little guy. He was hanging around her house and she began to put food and water out for him. She started leaving the bowls outside the wrought iron fence at first and gradually, very gradually began to move the bowls inside the fence. She even managed to lure him inside her house where he now resides with her dogs and her husband.
This little dog has apparently been on the streets since birth fending for himself. He even had to face the wrath of Hurrican Ike all alone. A tall order for such a little bitty pup.
This dog is extremely fearful of people. He will not allow people to touch him – even my client. That’s when she called me for help with his fearful behavior. Her main concern is for his health and well being. We have been taking baby steps to work with this little dog. I’ve been explaining how important structure is in a dog’s life, especially a fearful dog. We’ve covered leadership role and keeping emotional energy out of the mix.
Because it was clearly impossible to try to work with the dog “hands on” due to his fear, we consulted her vet for the best way to help calm him which would allow her to approach him and put a collar and leash on him.
In talking this over with my current students who are learning dog training from me, one of them came up with the brilliant idea to have the little guy, once calmed by the medication, lie quietly in the owner’s arms letting him rest for several hours breathing in her scent. We hope that when this little guy fully wakes, he will have an imprint, more of a “connectedness” to his owner that will begin to break the barrier of fear – if only a little.
It take a lot of patience, time and love to even begin to rescue the apparent feral pup who has had little to no human contact. I applaud my wonderful caring client for trying.
I’ll keep you posted on this little guy’s progress and how our future behavior modification efforts progress.