Doggie Rehab: Part 1 of ?

So… Snow and I have been chillin’ at the shelter.

Her name’s totally getting changed btw… it’s happening. Period.

Every day that I have seen her since I started visiting her has seen drastic improvement. The shelter staff have worked with her, I have worked with her. She is starting to get to the place where she wags when she sees me. This is all intensely awesome and amazing progress. Snow is making progress a lot faster than I expected she would. I really thought it was going to be a couple more weeks before she was ready for us to foster her.

I’m in love with Snow. She’s my kind of dog. She’s got her own things she’s about and she’s interested in you, but she’s got her other stuff too and that’s just as important as you are, unless you have food. Then she’s more interested in you than all the other stuff.

Snow does have issues with men… but her issue with men is very specific to my hubby. Hubby and I talked about it and he and I both feel that her issue with him is something we can handle. In particular, she just isn’t sure that she trusts him. She keeps an eye on him constantly when he’s in the room, it’s like she’s not sure what he’s going to do next. She growled at him once today when we were at the shelter. I issued a quick verbal correction when she growled. I just stood up, made myself tall and said, “Ah ah!” and when she stopped growling, I had her sit and then I praised when she was relaxed and calm and behaving herself.

That was all it took. One verbal correction. One quick and JUST correction.

Afterwards, I immediately walked over to my hubby, got Snow’s attention with a piece of hot dog and let her watch me put it in his hand. When she took it, he praised gently and within a few more minutes she was being more bold and wagging a bit when taking treats from my hubby and she was letting him pet her and scratch behind her ears. She really just needs someone to stand up and be in charge. Once she understood that I was in charge of things, she put her trust in me and was able to put her trust in the weird looking man type person too.

I don’t think we’ll have long term problems with her and the men in my home at all. She just hasn’t been socialized very much except with kids and dogs. She actually does very well with children, is very interested in them, wants them to pet her and play with her. She is so fearful though, that I don’t think a home with young children is appropriate, but it is good to know that if my friends bring over a kid while we’re caring for Snow, she won’t freak out and have a melt down about them.

Then… after we got her warmed up to my hubby, we got to take her outside for a walk!! She pulls on lead, hard. I didn’t feel comfortable letting my daughter walk her because she’s just too strong for her. She’s a lot stronger than she looks, she’s no Mugen, but she does not look like she has enough muscle to pull as hard as she does. She’s going to need lots of leash walking practice and probably a gentle leader… or… dare I say it… a prong. Anyone who knows about me and my dog training philosophies knows I hate prong collars, but… if I only need to use it twice, then I can’t complain about them.

So… now this is where we are:

Next week, Lucy is going to the vet for blood work. We’re going to make sure her white cell count is back to normal. Once we are sure that it is, I will make sure my dog’s vaccinations are up to date and that Snow’s vaccinations are up to date… and then I will be introducing Snow to Mugen first, then Lucy.

From there… we’ll see how it goes. If it goes well, she could be crashing at my place as early as next weekend.

She’s made so much progress. She was just really placed in the wrong house with the wrong people.

If I can’t adopt Snow or foster her, I remembered that Mugen’s puppy K trainer is VERY active with our local GSD community and she may be able to help me place Snow or we may be able to get her picked up by GSD rescue, so that will be my next step to get Snow adopted if Snow cannot come here to live.

Wish us luck!