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  • Celebrate Your Small (or Large) Successes!

     Chris updated 6 months, 2 weeks ago 5 Members · 16 Posts
  • Riggan

    Member
    February 6, 2021 at 6:07 AM

    I’m reposting this here, since it originally was posted in General Members. But it really is for those of us with Second Chance Dogs!

    Those of us with “Second Hand Dogs” start from a different place than those who get puppies. Our dogs are not a clean slate. They come with not only the unique personality quirks that all dogs have, but also an often unknown past. Critical skills such as socialization that need to be acquired during the early months are often lacking. Trust has always to some extent been broken. Behaviors that might have been useful for survival in their past can be counter-productive when in a loving home. Each dog and situation is different, but the common denominator is that we need to celebrate small successes that may seem trivial to someone whose dog had a solid start in life. Please share your successes, big and small, with us here so we can all share in your excitement. Your success may also give the rest of us hope for a situation we may be struggling with for our dog. Looking forward to your stories!

  • Riggan

    Member
    February 6, 2021 at 6:29 AM

    Lance has been terrified of open spaces, especially parking lots. Tail goes tightly between his legs and all he can think about is running away. We’ve been following Roberts advice of very short exposures without feeding into his fear. We matter of factly go from the vehicle to the trailhead or field where he can explore and run (his favorite activities). I have gradually been noticing his tail coming out from between his legs, but yesterday he blew me away. We went to a new trail that is off a golf course, so it is a huge parking area with lots of cars there. He hopped out of the truck and was looking around, a bit tense and very alert, but we walked all the way across the lot to the trailhead without his tail ever dropping from its neutral position! When we returned from our hike, he was almost unconcerned about the parking lot! There is hope!

  • Debbie

    Member
    April 1, 2021 at 3:03 PM

    I thought I had replied here when I first joined, but must have posted it elsewhere on the site… Today, April 1 marks our 1 year anniversary together, the day I was able to bring Keller home from the SPCA at the age of 2 1/2 years . Keller is one of the unfortunate double merle Aussies born deaf due to improper pairing of her parents. She knew no commands when I adopted her, not even sit or lay down. In the year that she has been with me, she has learned many things and is secure in coming to my side when she has one of her panic attacks that normally sends her into hiding under something. I’ve recently been able to let her off leash in the agility ring to play and run the obstacles. Having sun sensitive eyes, I can’t/don’t over ask of her when the sun is in her face. I’ve always trained my own animals, dogs, birds, horses…, but am happy to have joined Robert’s site as his expertise and manner of teaching enhance what comes to me naturally. It’s a little bit different training a deaf dog than one that hears and I do miss the verbal commands, but I’m happy to have adopted Keller before she spent any more time in the shelter, especially since she has panic attacks.

  • Riggan

    Member
    April 1, 2021 at 5:41 PM

    What a jewel you are for Keller, Debbie! She is so fortunate to have found you. Happy anniversary to both of you, and may there be many more joyous ones to come!

  • Debbie

    Member
    April 2, 2021 at 7:44 AM

    Thank you Riggan. I think we are both lucky to have found each other. I always shutter when I think of how it would have been for her to be stuck in one of those barren shelter cages while have one of her panic attacks…

  • Debbie

    Member
    April 2, 2021 at 7:48 AM

    That is so wonderful that Lance is starting to calm down in open areas! Time and proper treatment can heal all…

  • James

    Member
    April 2, 2021 at 5:17 PM

    I can relate to the struggles of rescuing a sporting dog – I adopted a 2 y/o intact doberman. He was completely unsocialized and out of control on leash. I have learned a ton in 5 months. As has he. I’m no nonsense – he knows I will not tolerate non compliance. While it’s a ton of work, it’s so worth it. He also had owners who didn’t train him at all, didn’t socialize or groom him EVER. I wish people could be held accountable for this stuff. Don’t mean to rant, but it’s so frustrating. This guy is a sweetheart and is good at his core so we’ll make it work, despite the hardships. It’s great to be part of community that understands the challenges and the frustrations that come with the rescue world. There’s a lot of bad days, and I’d be lying if I never thought “have I taken on too much” but the good days outweigh it. I’m convinced patience when you’re at your brink is what builds that lifelong relationship.

    Dogs are smarter than they’re given credit for. I was recently forwarded an email that I want to share from a Tibetan monk who a family member is acquitted with after having spent time in Bhutan;… “We believe dogs are the last in the cycle of the animal world after which they are reborn as human beings. They also help to quench our thirst during the intermediate state of death and rebirth. Hence dogs are really mans best friend for now and forever…

  • Debbie

    Member
    April 3, 2021 at 11:30 AM

    James, Stay strong in working with that Dobie. They are wonderful, intelligent animals. I had 2 when I was younger, one after the other and both lived to 11 years of age. Time, patience and attunement with your dog will pay off in the end. Keep us updated with his progress.

    • James

      Member
      April 25, 2021 at 6:07 PM

      Thanks Debbie. They are amazing creatures. They are so tuned into to people, like no other dog I’ve ever had. He’s getting more playful which is great to see. I think the best part is seeing his guard drop. He used to crouch and stalk any dog, that’s changing now. He even recently ran and play bowed with some buds. Super encouraging!

      • Riggan

        Member
        April 26, 2021 at 7:35 AM

        That’s great to hear, James! I think one of the things we have enjoyed most with Lance is watching him learn to just be a dog. The little things like, “Balls can be fun to chase!”, “You mean you WANT me to put that in my mouth?” (as we work on retrieval), the big sigh of contentment as he lays on the sofa between us, etc. Just recently, he is starting to look at some strangers with curiosity rather than fear. We have now progressed to the point where there are several people he will allow to feed him from their hand, and a few who can pet him. With each person, it seems to go a bit faster. Step by step… As you say, there are days when I wonder if we will ever have him to a point where he is no longer living in fear, but more and more days we are amazed at his progress and his joy in life. So worth it!

  • Riggan

    Member
    May 3, 2021 at 11:19 AM

    Oops! I forgot to post the pictures. Here is a happy dog in the creek.

    • Bill

      Member
      May 4, 2021 at 11:34 AM

      Hi Riggan – AWESOME, AWESOME, AWESOME – what a testament to patience and consistency contributing to happiness for all!! Thanks so much for sharing an update on your journey with Lance! 😀

  • Riggan

    Member
    May 3, 2021 at 11:23 AM

    And here is what he was dealing with while we drank coffee and enjoyed a bacon and cheese scone. We were a bit away from all the action, but he was certainly hearing and taking it all in.

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