I spent a wonderful week visiting my mom in Buzzard’s Bay near Cape Cod. I boarded Nibbles with a woman and her family who had adopted another of the dogs who were confiscated along with Nibbles and Kelly. Nibbles had a great time working through many of the challenges a dog needs to sort out when they live in a world with people. He was going in and out of the house on his own. He was snuggling on the couch with his caregiver, who was able to give him pets and scratches. He was tolerating being on a leash. Bottomline was that I hated to take him away! He’s back in my office and I suspect that in a day or two we’ll be back to running around and playing, but in the meantime I’m being cautious and keeping him confined to his pen.
It’s easy to think that when dogs like Nibbles begin to show indications that they are happy and playful, that they are no longer flight risks. It doesn’t take much to add to the pressure they may be experiencing and see them revert to their earlier behaviors of fleeing or avoiding handling. The woman who was boarding him quipped that she didn’t want to end up being the subject of another story in a local paper which had already written about Nibbles’ adventures after he fled from his first foster home. I feel the same way. Better safe than sorry.
The following video is of Kelly, now called Rocky, who I had met in the barn along with Nibbles. Kelly showed more skills when it came to interacting with people. I had fun teaching him to target and play other ‘get used to hands’ games. Every dog is different and how we work with them will vary, depending on their abilities and comfort level. Pay attention to the dog, be patient and gradually ‘up the ante’ in regard to what you expect of them as their skills improve.