Thursday, May 7, 2009

Slow Progress

With rescued dogs it is always hard to tell how long it will take them to change any particular "bad habits" they might have. One thing is sure though, the first few days must be excused! I've fostered eight dogs now, which certainly doesn't make me an authority. However, from personal experience I can say that almost every dog (with the exception of Bill) changed significantly (for the better) after about two days at our house.

I think the reason for this is that they are usually just nervous about their new surroundings and probably also overwhelmed about the changes that recently happened in their lives, whatever that may be. When I take in a new foster I always expect that the first night or two is going to be pretty sleepless. After that we all seem to "get in the groove" and figure out what works.

Snowey is a great example of this. Our latest foster dogs was a spaz when we got him. As I mentioned earlier, he peed and pooped in my car as his first "hello!" The first few days involved alot of barking, crying and nervous non-stop running around. We're about a week in now and he's just sleeping on the couch next to me as I write.

Snowey still has some habits we are working on but he is shaping up to be a pretty darn good dog! This is the case with everyone except Bill, who took much longer to start showing new behaviors and actually required the help of other dogs to get him out of his shell.

The moral: when getting a new dog, don't get frustrated in the first few days or weeks. Each dog is different but there will definitely be some kind of adjustment period. Leadership and love are the two elements that I find need to be in place to help dogs feel comfortable.

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