Today we are absolutely delighted that All Black is back home. He escaped from his new home last Friday and we were all very worried. He was trapped in a garden not far from his house and was recognised by a very kind gentleman who had seen his poster. I am sure that his new mum and family will be really relieved, what a fright this boy has given us but as they say ‘alls well that ends well’!
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 its very important to keep it safe.
The most important thing to be aware of is that many of our dogs were strays or hunters and have been used to living on the streets or in the spa for some time. Given the chance, some of them may make a bid for freedom if they have the opportunity, so you need to be extremely vigilant at all times.
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.
Collecting your dog
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!
In the garden
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 panicking. 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!
In the house
Having a quiet place for your dog will make him feel more secure. A crate with the door open and a cover on makes a great den. Feed your dog in there so that it becomes a happy place to be. Some of our dogs have food issues – they have literally been starved and even the most gentle soul may turn into a maniac when food arrives!! Feed your new dog separately from other dogs until you can judge how he will be with food. Putting up a ‘baby gate’ can separate dogs when needed, or feed your dog in the crate.
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 a dog to slip through! Don’t be tempted to show your dog off to all and sundry for a few days. He will be physically and emotionally exhausted so allow him plenty of rest and to get used to you and your family.
Don’t over-compensate in the first few days. A bland food is ideal – mine have rice and chicken for the first few days then I add kibble gradually over a few days.
Some of the dogs have an upset tummy when they arrive – sometimes caused by the stress of travelling and changing homes. If it doesn’t settle within a very short time, ask the vets’ opinion but most upset tummies settle quickly.
I have found that the dogs are a little dehydrated when they arrive home, even though they have fresh water available at all times! Make sure that they have water available and don’t panic if they don’t wee for a day, it will 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.
As your dog settles into its new life and you begin to understand and respect each other you can relax and give your dog more freedom.The best thing is to allow them to progress at their own pace,keeping then safe as they do. It really doesn’t matter how long they take – they all get there in the end.
Double lead system…one lead attached to collar and one to harness..