In October 2014, DogtownSA received a call to help a family with their little dog whose behavior was leading to inappropriate interactions with the family’s young child. This little Jack Russell was living on his own in a portion of the garden and being kept apart from the other dog and the family. DogtownSA collected him and immediately took him to our vet. He was given a full checkup, vaccinations (as he had never received any before) and was sterilized. Being extremely insecure and nervous, when he was ready to come to our centre (after his little snip) we immediately put him into one of our special smaller runs with a big igloo filled with blankets and toys and just let him settle and relax into his new environment. Little George, as he is called, was very on edge and wary of every sound or movement made around him and would run backwards and forwards trying to find what “monster” had made the strange sounds. His whole body would shake and he would quickly run back to his “safe” house and stay right at the back out of sight.
A program was implemented for him and every day as I went passed his run, I would speak to him and throw in some yummy treats and just walk on by. This routine of passing by many times a day and talking calmly allowed him to get to know me as well as settle into his new surroundings. This would also allow him to do this at his own pace and allow him to get used to people without having to cope with face to face contact. Gradually he started to venture to the front of his run and would cautiously come and take a treat near my hand and then rush back to his igloo but he was still hesitant and suspicious. Getting him to venture out of the door into the open grass area in front of his run was a huge step for him to conquer. Once he achieved this milestone he would come out and run around saying “hi” take a treat and. instead of turning back immediately would wait a few seconds for more.
As we progressed he found it easier to stay longer and would lick my fingers and just back off slightly if he felt unsure. Then he would rush off again back to his “safe” place wait a few seconds and then come back again and each time I could see he was getting calmer.
As time has gone by he is now learning to trust me and will stand next to me whilst I massage his body and even put his head right against my leg so I can almost cuddle him. He loves being massaged and I use a lot of TTouch strokes. He still doesn’t like anything being put near or around his neck but I am constantly encouraging him to conquer his uncertainties and working in this area a little bit at a time. I am hoping very soon he will take the plunge and let me put a little harness on him so that we can go out for a walk. He watches all the other furries going past his gate on their daily walks and I am sure he wants to go too and I am hoping he will get braver and braver very soon. Recently we introduced a little furkid called Ollie to him hoping he would teach him to be more relaxed around humans. Ollie is a very calm gentle little boy and has already lived up to our expectations and George is already learning from him to be more relaxed around people. Very soon hopefully George will be confident enough to accompany Ollie when he goes on his walks. At the moment when Ollie returns George shouts at him as if to reprimand him for going off without him. He is just such a special little furrie and ready for the big wide world with a loving and caring family.