Charlie Bear here with Post #4 on Sharing My Story (Part 1).
This is #3 that you, my loyal readers, wanted to hear about: Tips on how to love a difficult dog.We’ve been talking about going back in time, and if I knew then what I know now…would I change anything? Yup, I would when it comes to my behavior at the time I was adopted. Mom Peep? She’d change a lot. Because she learned lots of things about adapting to a rescue dog.
First, she’d like to say that it is always beneficial to adopt rather than shop. You’ve heard that, right? Oh, sure, adoption comes with a bit of baggage. Okay, with me it was a lot of baggage. But if my Peeps hadn’t adopted me, who knows how long it would have taken (if ever) for me to find a home with people to love me. (Of course, my foster mommy would have kept me forever and a day, but by finding me a home she opened herself up to foster another pet, and another, and another…thus, helping many more dogs than me). You get the picture, right?
So here’s what we have to say when it comes to loving a difficult dog:
Remember where your dog came from. A puppy mill? A negligent owner? Tied up outside? A cage at a shelter? Out on the streets?
All of these situations affect us dogs. I had issues, as you know, with people trying to trap me or capture me. A dog from a puppy mill that wasn’t cuddled or loved may be averse to touch, too! What if I didn’t know what the inside of a house was like? If I was tied up outside for my entire life that would be all I’d know.
Deep inside, dogs want to be loved and to have a home of their own, a lap to snuggle in, and hands to caress them. But what if he never had that?
What happens if your dog nips or bites when held? What if he piddles in the corners or lifts his leg on the sofa? Does he chew on your shoes, maul the pillows on the bed? What if he is aggressive around other dogs? Maybe he’s standoffish and doesn’t like affection.
Love him anyway, just start out slow and from afar. Catch his eye and give him a smile and a kind word. Begin with little love pats instead of clingy snuggles to your chest. Put down his food and walk away…don’t hover. Many dogs need to eat alone. Be available if he sidles up close but don’t take it as a jump in affection. One step at a time, often tiny baby steps with a dog that is adjusting to a new life.
Think how it would be for you if you had to adapt to a new place, new people, new routine in your life. Mom Peep says every caretaker needs to PUT into action these things:
Lots more to come on how to love a difficult dog in Part 2.
Woofs and wiggles,
Charlie Bear and Mom Peep