Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Helping Josie Come Out Of Her Shell.

Every dog needs a little something different to come out of their shell and learn how to be a dog.  The majority of the mk9 rescue dogs come from not the best of situations leaving these dogs without guidance, without socialization skills and without homes and families to make them feel safe.  Josie came to us not too long ago but in a short time she is taking steps to better days and it is all thanks to #1 her foster family for their patients, HARD work and drive to see her succeed.

Here Josie is getting ready to meet her foster bother Toby for the fist time. They have been on a  rotation and even though they are going on walks with one another they were never to meet until Josie had time to adjust to her surrounding. With pit bull dogs SLOW is the best way to introduce two new dogs. Esp if one has just come from a crappy situation. 

When we do introductions we do not allow the dogs to charge one another or go nose to nose. Nose to nose is an unnatural way for dogs to meet and could cause some problems if one is dog tolerant.  So what we do is start walking with the 2 dogs. A handler for each pup and distance far enough that they can be close but not too close. Toby at first was a little stand offish but as we kept walking... and walking .. and walking you could see his body language start to change. He started accepting that Josie was near by.

 After both dogs started to feel more relaxed around one another we moved them in close and started asking them to "Look" and "sit" - work for treats. They were also rewarded for allowing the other dog to be near.  Keeping a dogs mind stimulated and focused on us at this time doesn't allow the dogs to "think" for them self and possibly get over worked and upset. It teaches them to focus on you and to let them know that you have the situation under control.

 We worked the dogs by each other until we started seeing each dog come out of their shell in their own way. For Toby he started to give that pit bull smile and his body loosened up. For Josie she started feeling more confident to remove herself from our side and get closer to Toby and accept that he wanted to be friendly with her.

One of the things Josie does not know is the "sit" command.  Her foster parents are working on this with her every day. Some dogs take a bit longer depending on their confidence level.  Mind you when Josie came into our program she was shut down and had no drive for food or toys.  So helping her understand how to do a simple thing like sit on command was not as easy as you may think.  Josie was even at a point to where she was afraid to go outside. We started putting the Thunder Shirt (as shown in the photos) on her before she left the house and so far it has been helping. She doesn't go crawling back to the house dragging her poor foster mom behind.

We are actually using Toby to help Josie come out of her shell even more and to learn how to be a dog.  We work Toby around Josie so she can watch him do his thing. Toby is a pro at sitting for treats and Josie is picking up. With a little guidance from us, praise and a reward Josie is learning to sit!!

Now that Josie and Toby are feeling more comfortable with one another and everything to this point has been nothing but positive interactions we are stepping it up a bit an allowing them to play.  We asked Josies foster dad to bring out a toy. . .

Toby - "A ((TOY)) DID I HEAR YOU SAY????"

Bringing an object into the mix can be a tricky thing. You must know your dogs to attempt a toy play time. Tobys parents know their boy inside and out and Josie has shown no signs of "dog aggression" or dominance. So we had a feeling this would turn out to be a fun time for both and maybe even help Josie  personality come out even more. If you are going to attempt this MAKE SURE you have someone with you that knows what their doing with an exercise like this and also the play MUST be observed at ALL TIMES! If the pups get a little two rammy then the play time needs a time out. You ALWAYS want to end a meet n greet on a positive level. There will always be more time for play so don't push your limits on a good thing.
Let the playing begin!!

This didn't last too long.... or we should say this TOY didn't last too long.  So we picked up the pieces and ended this play session on a great note!! With some additional Love letting them know they both did a good job at keeping the piece. 

After the two relieved themselves we headed back into the house for some water and some down time.
Josie does not like to be left alone so going her in her crate was an ordeal to say the least. After our training session, mind stimulation exercises and some physical play time Josie walked nicely into her crate and Toby made sure he stayed by his new friends side.

Josie likes the idea of Toby being around and settled down quickly. It did help that we moved her to a slightly smaller crate then the one we had her in. The one she was in she would pull at the door, scratch at the floor and have a panic look about her. The smaller crate seemed to give her comfort and easy which is what we are looking for in helping this girl progress.

Josie still has a long way to go before she is home ready.  Her foster family is working on behavior training, basic obedience training and socialization every day. Slowly but surely Josie will adjust to every day life and she will find that it is ok to be alone because we will ALWAYS come back.

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