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Martha..( ex Joyce)

We rehomed “Joyce” who had been in the pound for quite some time and had been put in there with her sister due to their fighting.   Her sister had been rehomed quite soon after being in the pound but Joyce had been waiting some months to be rehomed.
“Joyce” arrived after a very stressful weekend not only for her, but for us, as her transport broke down and we weren’t really sure when she would be arriving.   We received a phone call when the transport arrived at Dover,and she eventually arrived about 3 hours later at 10pm on a Sunday evening, which was about 15 hours after she should have arrived.
“Joyce’s” first meeting with Maxwell our Weimarner was not good, she bit his ear quite badly.   As she had been travelling for a long period of time, she was very stressed and hyper and was not ready to go bed so my husband had to take her for a walk at 1am.
We decided to name her Martha and didn’t know if she would understand this, or us, being as she came from France and didn’t know if she understood french, spanish or English.
She didn’t seem to like other dogs, and attacked Maxwell quite a few times, as well as my sisters dog.   Maxwell became quite scared of her.     So not only did we have to deal with Martha but also help Maxwell over come his fear of her.
When I walked her, I had to constantly reassure her and scoured the internet for training tips on how to help her overcome her reaction to other dogs.
Luckily I was in contact with the owner of Martha’s sister, now named Lily, so we could compare notes and support each other, as this really helped in getting to understand Martha’s behaviour.
I would say that it took about 6 weeks for Martha’s behaviour to change, and to become de-stressed, and I would say that I think she felt quite threatened and scared at first.
It was difficult in the beginning as there was very little history about how her, and her sister had been treated, what training they had had, if any.   Martha didn’t seem to know many commands, and didn’t seem to know how to play with toys at all, which was quite sad.   She also didn’t know how to play with other dogs and still doesn’t completely, as when they start to chase her she becomes that frightened dog again and has to be called away just incase she attacks them.
The only thing she seemed to know how to do was sit, and give her paw which she did constantly for attention.   She barges Maxwell out of the way as she wants the attention, and she had to learn that she was not top dog.
My 13 year old daughter has been a great help in teaching her how to play, and she now plays tug with a teddy.   It is so lovely to see her play and be happy.   She is still quite scared of some toys and also the hairdryer and hoover, but every day she gets braver.
I have a shadow, constantly following me around the house and wanting attention, and if I go out, she would cry constantly even if my family were still at home.    Mind you the greeting I get when I get back is so overwhelming, its like Ive been gone for months rather than an hour or so.
However,  I can honestly say that the hard work, training and love is so worthwhile to see the change in her.   Martha now licks Maxwell’s ears and they even share beds.
Training is ongoing and it is so rewarding to see her learn, and she loves to “talk” as Dalmations do in her growly language.
I would definitely rehome a dog again, as it is so nice to give a dog a home rather than give up on them at the first hurdle.   You just need, patience, understanding, love and time.

Martha and Maxwell..friends at last!

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