Eureka! Dog Blog

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Case Study: Puppy Mill Dog Part 3

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Now, Mary adopted Hannah in early July.  By August, Mary had been following our recommendations and she was making some progress, and housetraining was going well.  Mary brought her out to our facility to get to know the place, meet our dogs, and get used to some more social situations.  It was immediately striking that Hannah was not frightened of the other dogs – in fact, she seemed more relaxed when other dogs were around.  She was still scared of people, and after the other dogs had been handled, she would check them out to make sure they were OK.  Although Hannah spent most of the time in a safe corner of the fenced yard, she watched everything, and was keenly aware of where Mary was at all times.

Mary was going away for a few days at the end of August, and she was concerned about leaving Hannah at home with someone looking in on her.  Mary felt (and we agreed) that Hanah needed to be socialized more before she could be left with someone she did not already know and trust.  Hannah spent those few days with us, surrounded by our pack of ten dogs, just separated for feeding, and at night time, and when we were not there to supervise.  She learned how to use the dog door, and she relaxed noticeably around us – but she was clearly missing Mary.  She still avoided physical contact with us, but she would tolerate it if necessary, and she would approach for treats when the other dogs did.

When Mary was back, we worked with her on her body language when interacting with Hannah, and on loose leash walking.  Hannah needed to understand that Mary was her pack leader, and that she should trust her, even though she was human!  Mary had already implemented a structured regime so that Hannah understood how her days were organized; when she would eat, when she would go to bed, etc., so this was just refining that.  We like to see people working with their dogs while the dog is moving – the dog usually finds it easier to relax.  Mary quickly learned how to use the loose leash walking technique, and was able to walk Hannah around the neighborhood with the confidence we like to see in a pack leader!!!

Hannah was still very reserved, and was still not the cheery, outgoing dog that Mary had hoped for.  She was able to eat her food in the kitchen, and she was clearly comfortable on her cushion on the floor beside Mary during the day.  She would go out when Mary let her into the back yard to relieve herself, and come back in when Mary called for her.  But when Mary went out into the back yard, Hannah would not come to her.  Hannah had come a long way, but she still had a long way to go.

Mary had previously asked us about whether she should adopt a second dog to keep Hannah company, and we were not keen – often, people try to correct a problem with one dog by introducing another, and the situation gets worse rather than better.  It is much better to make sure that the situation is under control before introducing another dog into the mix.  However, we had now seen Hannah relax around other dogs, when she was one of a pack rather than a lone dog trying to live with a human.  And Mary had learned a lot about how to live with Hannah, and was subtly building her confidence, so we agreed that the time was right.  We just wanted to help with the process, as we wanted to make sure the second dog was the right match for Mary and for Hannah.

In October, about three months after Hannah came to live with Mary, we started to look for the right dog to introduce into the household.

Written by eurekapaws

February 9, 2009 at 9:24 pm

Posted in Case Studies, New Adoptions, Training

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