BADGER THE ROMANIAN RESCUE
What a difference a month makes :) Badger's owners have done some impressive work with their boy since their first session with me. He is another Romanian rescue who can have high levels of anxiety, but I saw very little stress or uncertainty in this session. His owners have become highly skilled at reading him in a short time. They know when his cortisol and adrenaline levels are too much for him to cope with, and have prioritised his needs, reducing high levels of daily exercise and giving him 'days off' from his walks to bring his stress levels down. He still gets lovely walks which have been focused on sniffing (lots of Sprinkles in long grass while mum and dad sit on a bench and chat). They have chosen times and places where all triggers can be avoided and, as a result, Badger is feeling much calmer.
His owners don't have a car, so walking in this new way has taken commitment and time and it's been good to see how much this bright wee boy has benefited from a change in lifestyle. He was a much softer, calmer and wrigglier (!) dog when I saw him this time. Have a look at my Facebook page for some footage showing how sensitively his dad responded to his signals when teaching him how to 'target' his hand. Easing-off the pressure and giving overseas rescue dogs time to work things out means that they settle more readily in homes with families in the UK. They are unlike UK dogs and have very specific training and rehabilitation needs because many of them have been taken-off the streets in Romania after living feral.
Understanding the needs of a Romanian dog is vital to rehabilitating them - using Thinking-dog methods has ensured that all the Romanian dogs I have worked with have remained with their families. Their owners have done well with them because they have understood that all the training thwy do needs to be pressure-free and taken at the dog's pace. A large number of Romanian rescues get returned to the rescue shelter within 6 months of being adopted in the UK. Learning to read them, understanding their previous lives and knowing how to give them what they need makes all the difference to successfully integrating them into family life.
Badger's owners have done amazing things with him in a month. Their management and training have meant that he is barking far less in the house, is calmer on his walks and even coped with a weekend of house-guests. He's a very special dog.