Friday, 15 February 2013

Preparing families interested in adopting one of the recently rescued Shih-tzu’s

Several welfare organisations were involved in the rescue of these animals, the majority of which were in varying states of neglect and requiring urgent medical attention.
The majority of these dogs are very sought after breed types including Shih-tzus, Maltese and Cavaliers. It is understood that many were used for breeding purposes.

Thanks to the efforts of those involved with this rescue operation, these incredible dogs are now receiving their first steps in veterinary and behavioural rehabilitation. Beautiful and adoring as each dog is, they all require individual behavioural assessments in order to get a clearer insight into their personal quirks, charms and needs before being considered for adoption. Regardless of breed, background or experiences, every dog is it's own individual and each will require it's own unique family to aid in their rehabilitation.

Many of these small, lap dog breeds have a fantastic aptitude for family life, happy go lucky and full of the joys of the world. Eager to please and the perfect companion for you and your family. However, breed type alone is not enough to determine how well a dog will or won't cope with what life throws at them. Each dog is as unique and as individual as our finger prints. 

Many of these rescued dogs have only ever known one or two people and have seen very little, if any, of the real world. The behavioural implications for dogs who have been raised in these conditions are vast and will require no less than 110% dedication, empathy and an absolute understanding that rehoming one of these special little guys is not simply a case of training.

Because so many of these dogs have missed out on the crucial learning stages of life, they may never fully rehabilitate and any potential adopter must be aware of this. Adopting any dog is a life long commitment and every avenue and implication of adopting a dog is to be fully explored and carefully thought out so that you, the adopter, can be prepared for facing every challenge that lies ahead. 

As mentioned, there are many behavioral implications which can not be "trained out of" a dog whose cognition has developed in such an environment.
Some of these dogs will forever be overtly fearful of new situations, people, sounds, environments. Consider your home. Do you have frequent visitors? Is it a busy household with lots going on, comings and goings etc?
Toilet training may be extremely challenging, often dogs from these situations will never learn to toilet outside.
Handling & Grooming: These dogs all have coats that require regular maintenance. Dogs who have developed in a "hands free" environment with little human interaction will feel extremely anxious about being petted, touched or groomed. Some of these dogs may never enjoy being handled and will always prefer a "hands off" approach. Do you want a dog you can pick up, cuddle and pet?
Anxiety and depression are as real an issue in dogs as they are in people. A dog who is extremely fearful may react in one of many ways. One being to act "shut down", overtly fearful or worried and the other is to behave reactively by escalating their warnings about their anxieties to a growl or a bite. On adoption, it is imperative that the advice given is adhered to so to prevent your dog feeling the need to escalate any warnings about how they're feeling and so you, the adopter knows how to effectively manage such a situation and aid in reducing your dogs stress levels.

With all that has been lacking in the lives of the dogs who have come from these conditions, they do excel in one area. They have all lived with other dogs and behave far more naturally in the presence of another dog than than they do in that of a human. In order to give these incredible beings the best start at a new life, each dog has to be rehomed with another dog, pending a meet with your existing dog.

Beautiful, sweet and heartbreaking as they are, think with your head and not your heart before considering adopting a dog. If you can devote yourself to the rehabilitation of one of these very special dogs and are fully prepared to take on the life long and life changing challenge of adopting a special dog then we will support you every step of the way. As with all our dogs, we will provide you with a tailor made behaviour plan, pre-adoption talk and post adoption support for the life of the dog to ensure you and your new family member are together forever. Given the opportunity, your little dog will blossom into the most incredible soul you will ever know. If you're willing for the challenges ahead, you'll know love like no other and truly have adopted a friend for life.

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