So what is one size fits all and how does it relate to a rescue’s blog?
There is no one size fits all when it comes to rescue, we come across so many different dogs, different stories, different personalities – no two are identical. And neither is their journey.
Some dogs are inherently very friendly, and some very fearful. Their fears can manifest in different ways, from different triggers, and be overcome in different ways, with different techniques.
It’s important to understand that when you’re adopting a dog, your dog has a past and a temperament. How the dog handles those things can vary. To be honest, some dogs will never really be bounding with joy to see new people, but that doesn’t make them a bad dog. That makes them YOUR dog. If you give them a chance.
Often you’ll find me out in town with one of our rescues, working on their confidence in different environments, and sometimes I won’t let you pet that dog, I may even ask you to not approach. There’s a reason. I want this dog to feel comfortable in this environment without being bombarded by the things that cause her to become fearful. I want her to know that when she’s with me, she doesn’t have to worry about anyone rushing up to her with their hands waving and their voice at the highest octave achievable. My goal is to get this dog comfortable at a speed suited for her. It doesn’t happen overnight, and besides, not all dogs are for the public’s enjoyment. And I think that’s just fine.
If you know me, you know my favorite place to train is our local Tractor Supply. The reason I love it there, well there’s a few, but #1 – the staff understands. I need a place to take these pups where I know we’ll be able to make progress, and the staff is a huge help. I can say, she’s reactive be slow. And they understand what I mean. They respect the dog and give her the space she needs.
Okay, so the staff is great, what about the general public? Not always so great. Sure, I hear it a lot “oh all dogs love me!” – Without hesitation, “Oh that’s great, but we’re training right now and we need to get back to work, thanks for asking though!” End of conversation, and no feelings are hurt- usually. Oh well if they are. It would be unfair of me to force a fearful dog into a situation that I already know they are uncomfortable with just to please a stranger. Sorry, I’m in my dog’s corner, not the general public’s.
So how do we adopt out fearful dogs? Very carefully. We put in as much time as possible building their confidence, showing them how to make the right choice when they become uncomfortable, and we advocate for them. We respect them, and we help them find ways to exist in a normal world with out being put in difficult situations. And then we teach the adopter to do the same.
Fear, anxiety, social awkwardness – these are things we are more than willing to accept in people, and yet so many dismiss it when it comes to dogs.
Give the shy dog a chance, you can’t imagine the bond you can create with a dog who truly needs someone to lean on.
If you have it in your heart to adopt, keep in mind some dogs carry a little baggage too, why not help them unpack?
Knowing one life has breathed easier because you have lived, THIS is to have succeeded. -RWM