Building Confidence with Baby Ginnie
I would like to tell you about a little girl in my section called Baby Ginnie. We have been experiencing some difficulty in getting baby Ginnie adopted because of her low self confidence and her timid nature so we put our heads together and came up with a plan to help her become more self assured and confident in herself.
Now before I start I need to give you some backround. Baby Ginnie came to Dogtown when she was about 6 months old. Sadly we have no idea what kind of experiences or exposure she had during her critical learning period but we can only assume that her first family did not take her for the proper socialization and training that a young pup so desperately needs at that age. When Baby Ginnie came to Dogtown, we worked on her social skills and she even attended puppy classes with some of our volunteers, but unfortunately as soon as things got a bit hyped up at Dogtown (especially during walking time), she would go over threshold and subsequently she was not able to successfully live with another dog. This in turn, had a negative effect on her self confidence as she became more and more timid as days went by.
So we started doing some self confidence work with her in the way of confidence courses, introducing her to new things (always a happy experience coupled with lots of treats), we reinforced appropriate behaviors and as much as that was helping, it just was not enough to get her to a point where she can be classified as adoptable.
We then took a step back and decided to re-formulate our plan of action to include social interactions with other dogs. Our thinking was, if we chose the RIGHT dog for her to have socials with, it will do her the world of good. So after carefully considering the options we decided on a girl called Daisy O’Dare. The reason we chose her was because she is super social and gives lots of calming signals when meeting new dogs and her confidence level is exactly where we want Baby Ginnie’s to be, eventually.
During the next few weeks we managed to do about 3 or 4 successful social walks with Ginnie and Daisy O’Dare. We noticed that Ginnie is much happier when she realizes it’s walking time and she even had a bit of a skip in her step when she saw Daisy was joining on the walk. This is great progress for a timid girl like Ginnie. The biggest breakthrough for us was at the 4th social walk, Baby Ginnie started initiating play. Her body language was much more comfortable and visible which is a huge step for her.
Although these social walks are a great way to build baby Ginnie’s confidence, it on only one aspect as part of a holistic program. Whether or not she will ever be able to live with another dog is not for certain yet, but the walks and positive social interactions have really been amazing and even if she needs to be a single dog going forward, we will always make sure she still have social interactions like walks or group class, to keep building her confidence.
I am very proud of her progress and I hope she will continue to blossom
By Wilmi, Trainer.