When Clifford first arrived at the refuge he was a very scared and flighty boy. Some people underestimate how quickly a scared dog full of adrenalin can move and although he was adopted locally he managed to escape within 24 hours! It took many volunteers to eventually catch him and without their dedication, goodness knows what would have become of him.
Once back at the refuge he settled down and slowly regained confidence in humans again. Today he left with a lovely family and I am sure that he will settle down very quickly.
Adopting and keeping a very nervous dog safe can be quite a challenge. You know that you have done a great thing and are full of love and encouragement, but it takes time for a timid dog to realise this. A timid and nervous dog can move very quickly and can be very determined so it’s very important to keep it safe.
The golden rule is to keep your dog on a harness AND collar with either two leads or a double ended lead. This means that if the dog panics and backs away, if one fails the other should keep him nice and safe.
When you leave the refuge it is vital that you can secure your dog on the journey home. The best way for a dog to travel home is in a crate and will ensure that when you get home your dog won’t jump out of the car and run!
Don’t stop to walk your dog on the way home – better a wee and poo in the crate, than a lost dog!
Take your dog into the house using its double lead. Some dogs have never lived in a house before so may need encouraging (or carrying) into the house. Again, every dog is different but always err on the side of caution. Everything will be strange to your dog, from strangers’ voices on the TV to the washing machine or hoover. Keep everything really calm and low key, I remember accidently really scaring a pup by shaking out a bin bag!
However high your fences are, keep your new dog on a lead or long line in the garden for the first few days until you have judged how likely they are to try to escape. Every dog is different, but we have had instances of dogs attempting to jump six foot fences in their panic to get away. Scared dogs become very athletic when in panic mode. Keeping them on the lead until they know where the door is to the house and until they are familiar with you, is a wise move. Better to have the dog on a lead in the garden for several days, than risk losing it!
Please make sure that you are extra careful when people come to your house who aren’t used to your dog. Danger points are open doors and gates. There have been very sad incidents recently of rescue dogs slipping out through an open door or gate. It takes a split second for this to happen!
Don’t be tempted to let a timid dog off the lead until you have practiced recall and are sure that he wont bolt or run off.
Will clifford be 2018’s last adoption? Only tomorrow will tell!