Tonight I thought that I would talk about a side of our job that not many people know about. The post adoption days, weeks and sometimes months when you work with families to keep the dog in the family and prevent its return to rescue.
So the adoption went well, the pup was a great match for the families lifestyle, they were delighted to have found the pup of their dreams….what could possibly go wrong? This is very objective and very dependent on expectations and previous doggy experience and how the family manage the new pup from day one.
I have to admit when I see an email from new adopters my heart is in my mouth. Is it to say, all is well, thank you so much or is it to say help…we are struggling to cope!
We always encourage new adopters to call or email us us as soon as they experience behaviours out with their expectations. We much prefer to spend as much time as needed talking through behaviour problems than risk a dog being returned.
So what issues are we giving advice on? The most common are anxiety and fearfulness, food aggression, resource guarding, leg lifting, toilet training and separation anxiety. We will be covering each topic in future blogs.
A lot of the time the problems are very objective. What is perfectly normal to some adoptants is totally unacceptable to others. As well as basic management of any situation we work until we get to a place that is acceptable to everyone concerned and then they can start bonding and enjoying their new life together.
If we can’t come to a solution we can ask our dog trainer or behaviourist to visit (provided you are relatively local). It’s often much easier if someone sees a behaviour first hand and can advise accordingly.
In a very small percentage of cases, no matter how much work we do, we have to step in and take the dog back. Filou is back after several months. We knew that Filou had bitten ( not badly) but he hadn’t for 8 months in kennels. When a couple who had taken early retirement came along, with doggy experience, an enclosed garden, home all day, no visiting children and a daughter who is a dog behaviourist and wanted to give Filou a chance it seemed like a great chance for him!
They were very aware that he had bitten and we discussed the risks, management to keep everyone safe and coping skills. We have learnt that Filou has severe guarding issues of people, objects and food. Despite lots of work and management, his behaviour became very extremely unpredictable in the home environment and the safest thing to do was to bring him back.
This is heart-breaking as you have a family who gave it their best and a doggy with yet another failed adoption behind him….
Our adoptions to the English speaking community are usually very successful due to good communications post adoption. We are very proud that our return rate is less than 5% and as we too are learning all the time…..we hope this gets even lower!