When I got up this morning, I didn’t think that at 9pm this evening I’d be fostering a skittish, nervous, hyper-aroused 11mth Viszla boy whose future is at risk because he had bitten the face of a child.
Long story short, I work as a behaviour assessor for a local rescue and when I was in there yesterday, they mentioned this little lad who nobody could get near. Cut it even shorter, I realised that what he needed was a peaceful, quiet, uneventful environment without any foot-traffic, children, phones ringing, dogs barking etc. I realised that’s what I could offer for a short while. The rescue is so keen to save this dog, even though it’s bitten, that I offered my help. Just how could I refuse?
Does this look comfortable and peaceful enough? (This is my quilt off my own bed in there… it should be).
So I’m going to run a mini-blog on Teddy (as I have named him). I always rename rescues that are relinquished for anxiety or fear just in case their existing name has negative associations.
Here’s the first blog:
17:00 – 18:00
Journey with Ted very uneventful once he was in the car. Was extremely reluctant to get in but allowed himself to be picked up and placed in. He didn’t whine or pace in the car and simply sat there. I left a front window open so that cold, fresh air was flowing back to him (always helps dogs).
Got him back in the house, unclipped his lead and allowed him to simply pace about in the kitchen and office (we divide the house in half with a tall dog-gate and this is the ‘foster dog’ area). He was very aroused, with dilated pupils, stiff, jerky body movements, tight tail & ear carriage and ‘skull skin’. He gave a couple of slight ‘freezes’ at me, usually if I moved a hand a bit too quickly. So I simply stood in the kitchen pretending to read the paper for 10 minutes, ignoring him totally. He then started to slow down so I left him in this area and went to the other half of the house.
He whined for a few minutes. When he stopped I came back into the kitchen, got myself something out of the fridge and then walked straight out again.
This procedure was copied for the next couple of hours with me merely popping in and out but not in response to any whining. I didn’t pay him any attention, give him any eye contact or talk to him. Gradually he got so bored at me coming through the gate and ignoring him that he didn’t even get up out of his bed to see what I was doing.
17yr daughter Rachael came home from being out with friends. We met up with her outside. Teddy behaved as if he’d seen a long-lost friend and jumped up to her. Very sociable, excited and happy – lots of loose tail-wagging. Rachael remained very calm with him and we all went for a short walk on the green where he toileted without prompt. Rachael entered the house first so Ted could see she lives there too and we stood in the kitchen calmly to chat for a while. Ted reverted back to his aroused state for a while so we hung out in the kitchen until Ted got bored with us and we went through to the other half of the house without talking to him or looking back at him.
Ted went straight back to his bed without a murmur.
Seems very hungry (hadn’t been given afternoon feed so that he wouldn’t be travel sick and also to motivate him with food if necessary) so gave him some soaked Burns. Left him alone completely to eat and then rest (concern about bloat).
Will blog about his first night here tomorrow – watch this space… May be able to write more about his history too if I can get it.
This is the only pic I dared take of Mr Skittish tonight