Mr. Fritch and I were deeply grieving the loss of a beloved dog, but had started to think about adding a third back to the family. We'd both been browsing online at some of our favorite rescue groups' sites when Mr. F happened across a film clip of a really gentle-looking dog running an agility course. The video was accompanied by the twang of soft banjoing and that really touched Mr. F's heartstrings (get it--a music pun!), so we went to meet our future.
Our preliminary meeting seemed to go well. On our second meeting, which was to introduce Iggy and Barney (Fritch problem child) to the new guy, the man in charge basically loaded the new dog in the truck and sent us on our way, even though we were not entirely sure at that point, mostly because Bert (quickly re-named Humphrey) had been described as bashful.
Humphrey loves driving, so he just relaxed on the drive to his new home. Once we got home and let him out the back door is when the fun began. He refused to come back inside, instead standing at a safe distance and barking at us. We tried treats, time, tone of voice--nothing worked till Mr. F grabbed a leash and walked right up to him and clipped it on. Mission accomplished.
Even though I had experience with lots of different types of dogs because of past volunteer work, I had hesitated to take on a shy one because they can be really difficult to rehabilitate. Shy, fearful dogs usually got that way from either abuse or from not having enough time with their mothers before they were weaned. H-dog has a few scars on his face and ear, so we assume it's the former. These dogs can be really difficult for shelters to adopt out, as it's easy to confuse fear with aggression. That said, I love an underdog....(yes! pun #2).
To be continued...tips for working with fearful dogs; growth Humphrey has made; what he has taught me.
|Humphrey, looking fierce. Gotta love that underbite.|
Note to self and readers (anyone? anyone?): I am aware this piece needs to be worked on in terms of organization; way too rambly.