THE THREE R’S: REST, RELAXATION, RESPECT
REST ( absence of work, motion or activity )
Total and complete rest is required for at least 4-7 days. Do not demand or ask anything of the dog. Feed and exercise only ! If you must take the dog on leash for outdoor elimination, do so quietly. Use short sweet praise when called for. Do not jerk the leash. Do not scold or use a harsh voice, no matter what. It’s equally important to not appear patronizing. Remain non-judgmental and use a soft tome of voice without emotion. Do nothing but tend to the dog’s physical needs, remain neutral. Isolation is a must for the dog to rest. Physical restriction at this time is crucial.
If a case history is available, keep in mind it is just that, a history. If the dog were to write the history it would likely be different from what you have been told. Do not judge any behavior you see, just remain non-judgmental.
RELAXATION ( to make less severe or strict, to relieve tension or strain )
The dog must be placed in a calm atmosphere. Quiet is paramount. No children’s voices, family noise, or physical activity surrounding the dog. Imagine what it might take to make you feel relaxed after a traumatic or especially stressful experience.
By allowing the dog to come to terms with new surroundings, you will not un-knowingly trigger
any behavior which may be why he/she ended up in Rescue. He is only what he is, right now, at this moment.
RESPECT ( esteem, have regard for, to avoid violation of, to concern )
This is often the most difficult for some to follow through totally and completely.
Re-read the above; to avoid violation of. When a dog comes into foster care, especially directly from the street, a shelter or from any other situation, no one knows what, in the dog’s mind, is a violation. Give him some space physically and emotionally !! Observe without judgement. In this critical time, you control the end result. You can either add to his/her emotional baggage or help him/her un-load it. Take your time, respect a possible lack of trust, respect the fears, need for comfort and solitude and above all, respect the truth that dogs have emotions and feelings.
Please follow these guidelines, allowing a minimum of 3-7 days. Each dog is an individual and may benefit from even longer periods of adjustment. You’ll see a different
dog in a week !
Give him/her every opportunity to overcome any fears or anxieties.
You’ll be rewarded many times over.
Bull Terrier Rescue and Rehabilitation Canine Behavior Consultant
www.thehigherleash.net ( under construction)