I recently received this update from one of my clients, who took-on a troubled stafffy x 2 years ago. When Tia arrived, she was so fearful that she couldn’t even cope with being in the front garden. She was happy in the house and back garden, but also had a lot of body-issues and was fearful of people.
With a lot of patience, Shell, her partner Tez and their resident staffy Keegan worked their magic on this little girl.
I’ll let you read it in Shell’s own words. Her honesty and humour give real insight into what a dog with issues needs – and her update is a great example of how long and slow the rehabilitation of a troubled dog can be. Her final comment is typical of a lot of owners who feel guilty about not giving their dogs everything they feel they should – as I told her, she’s got no reason to feel bad: she’s done amazing things with Tia.
Tia and Keegan update Jan 2017-01-02
The 20th Jan will be Tia’s second gottcha day and whilst she still can’t be walked on her own (and probably never will) she has made huge progress in the two years we’ve been lucky enough to have her in our lives. We haven’t taught her to sit or lay down, because we want her to comfortable in her home and asking her to do things which she doesn’t want to do isn’t really fair.
When she first came to live with us, meal times were a very noisy affair and could take us up to half an hour to prepare. Every time she barked or jumped up we stopped, turned away and waited until she was quiet and then started again. Now she lies on her mat in front of her cage and waits very quietly (we’ve never asked her to do this) Both dogs are fed in separate rooms with a baby gate separating them. As Keegan eats so slowly, Tia is always finished first. Again, she just lays quietly on her mat and waits for Keegan to finish, then she goes and cleans his bowl.
Both dogs went to the vets for boosters on Friday. Our new vets are very good with both dogs and understand how nervous Tia is of strangers. She’s been a couple times before just to meet the staff and have a smell of the premises. Each time we go she likes to sit on the weighing scales (which I click and treat) This time she went and said hello to the receptionist (twice) and seemed to enjoy a little fuss from her. She was a little worried in the waiting room, but was still calm enough to take treats. Keegan was having none of it, he knew what was coming and, whilst he was happy to say hello to another lady waiting in the room, he didn’t want to go into the surgery room at all.
In the surgery room, Keegan made it very clear he didn’t want to be there, even refusing treats from Tez. He wouldn’t look at the vet and just stood staring at the door. I’m sure he thought if he couldn’t see the vet, then the vet couldn’t see him. That was until the vet gave Tia a treat, then of course Keegan was back in the room and had to have a biscuit as well! Tia said hello to the vet and wasn’t too worried when he stroked her gently and carefully. He just gave her an injection this time, he wasn’t bothered about doing a full check, as he didn’t want to push her.
We try to walk them (round the duck pond) when we know there wont be many people or dogs about, but today we completely misjudged it and everyone man, woman and child were out with their dogs. Tia had a little grumble at 2 separate dogs but we knew why on both occasions. When we see another dog, I will take Tia to walk on the opposite side of the road. She doesn’t really lie down now, (Fern: she used to lie down and be unable to move when she saw anything that bothered her) but will do a half lay down half stand. She just needs time to see what’s coming. Lots of treats at this point, so she is still feeling calm.
Keegan and Tez will be in front of us (about 4-5ft) Lots of treats and soothing talking and we can walk forwards and pass the other dogs without any problems. Then we stand and she sniffs the air from where the dog has been. This is such a massive improvement from the screaming banshee that would spin round on her lead. If she does have a little grumble, we stand still and wait until she has calmed down and is focused back on me. Normally less than 20 seconds for this to happen. I am sooo proud of her. Our walks are so much more relaxed and this morning she had a little swaying bum and tail with a little spring in her step. She seemed to be enjoying it.
The above also happens when she sees a cat, although this can sometimes cause her to go over the top, but again it takes seconds for her to calm down.
Push bikes can be quiet exciting/scary but now she just turns straight back to me for lots of treats, although today she just stood and looked at a couple of the bikes and didn’t need any treats.
I can’t wait to see what else she brings us in the next twelve months, but as with many dogs: each day, sometimes each hour, can be a tiny paw step forward. Especially for any rescue dog.
All the above has been what you have shared with us and I want to say a massive ‘thank you’. I’ll hold my hands up and say I haven’t done as much with her as I should have done and that’s purely down to me. But I’m hoping to change that this year .