Fostering Trust

Good day to all.  We have some exciting changes happening here at Happy Dawgs: We’re going to be fostering a dog I met and assessed back in May of this year.  His name is Ben (read his assessment), and the owners of the boarding kennel he’s been living at for the past 7 months said he has really come out of his shell. They said he’s been playing well with the other dogs and getting along really well with both adults and children who have come to the facility. So, we’re really looking forward to having him in our home.

Yesterday, we went to meet with Ben.  Instead of the dog that had been described to us, what we met was a dog who was not only in the same state he was when I first met him in May, but he was actually worse. The dog we met was in complete shut-down; I went down to the ground and put myself in a submissive position, and Ben didn’t respond at all. All he was focused on was flight.  It was tragic.

Twenty minutes into the attempted visit, the facility owner said he was going to resolve the barking right then, and he went and got a leash. The second the leash was put onto Ben’s collar, Ben settled down, and my husband and I were finally able to be with him without him panicking.

We took him for a walk. We started the process of building trust with him by quietly rewarding him when he walked beside us instead of pulling ahead, and when he went into a sit position on his own when we stopped moving. By the time we got him back to the kennels, he was calmer and less physically tense.

The visit told me that he is not ready, yet, to come to our home. So, I’m going to be going to him every day for at least the next couple of weeks and working one on one with him building trust and helping him become calmer.  This is a dog who doesn’t know where he belongs; he doesn’t know whether he’s coming or going. So, we’re going to give him that by fostering him for as long as it takes for him to become happy and balanced.

Stay tuned for updates on this boy. It’s going to be a long and amazing journey…

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