Good Monday to you. I hope you all had an enjoyable weekend. Yesterday evening, I met with the family who is fostering Ben, the dog I mentioned in the previous post. As I thought, the dog is definitely in trouble and in need of complete rehabilitation. He is incredibly fearful, insecure, anxious, and highly mistrustful. He cowers around hands, and when he’s being approached, his back arches and becomes so tense that the muscles bulge a little bit. His tail goes between his legs, and he won’t make eye contact if he can avoid it. He does not trust any form of touch, but he does respond fairly well to the correct use of the leash.
While he is able to remain in the same area with a human standing upright or sitting on furniture, he is not able to do the same when a human gets down to his level. In an effort to encourage him to approach me for a food reward, I got down on one knee, keeping my body sideways to show him I meant him no harm. He responded by arching his back and becoming very tense, his tail went between his legs, he immediately turned his head sideways, and he moved away from me. He was completely unable to cope.
Ben will benefit greatly from exposure to other dogs, animals, children, and other people as part of a rehabilitation effort. But, not right now. Right now, what he needs is one-on-one work, without those triggers. He is so fearful and so mistrustful that putting him in a rehabilitation facility at this time is not recommended. He can be helped; there’s no question about that. But he is not ready to be around the things that trigger his territorial behavior and anxiety. He cannot cope with those things right now.
Based on his level of anxiety, mistrust, insecurity, and fear, Ben is definitely a borderline red-zone dog. The potential for him to deliver a fear-based bite is very high. It is not recommended that he be placed around small children at this time.
We did make some progress with Ben last night, so I have asked the foster family to continue doing the things that earned us that progress for at least this week before making a decision about whether or not they want to continue fostering him. They will inform me of their decision at the end of the week. Until I hear from them, I will not be starting a category for Ben.