A four year old Miniature Pinscher came to be rescued by Ubi and her family from a puppy mill this past summer. When I was asked to connect with Duke, it was to help him with his anxiety. He barked often, many things upset him, anything that changed startled him, and he didn’t like strangers in the house. His reaction to men was fearful and hostile. The male caregiver in the home was unsuccessful in bonding with Duke because any overtures made towards the dog resulted in him retreating to his kennel and slinking out of sight.
This little dog had a rough beginning to his life. He was mistreated by men several times and so, naturally, was disinclined to trust them. In addition to that, the male caregiver was tall and had a deep voice. Whenever he spoke to Duke, the dog interpreted the attempt as one that would cause him pain, so he slunk away. Duke also believed that he was not in his forever home. When asked about that, he said someone in the home was thinking he wasn’t the right dog for them. It turned out the male caregiver had voiced some doubts because of Duke’s reactions to him.
I visited Duke and had some discussions with his caregivers. Duke was the Alpha of the house, and didn’t want to be. This meant his anxiety was increased because he constantly was on alert. In fact, this little dog was on high alert all the time. Because of this, his stress was increased and his anxiety was creating habits that were less than desirable for him and his caregivers. We had a long discussion about Alpha status and how it was essential his caregivers gain and retain it in order to lessen his anxiety. When his anxiety lessened, his bad habits could be modified by basic training.
I suggested the male caregiver feed this little dog, give him treats and, whenever possible, speak in a softer tone of voice until Duke realized that he was safe. Everyone was in favour of Duke remaining in the home, so once he was reassured he was staying there, his view of this being his forever home was strengthened. The female caregivers were going to emphasize to the male caregiver that his voice and movements needed to be modified when he spoke to this little dog. As the male caregiver wanted to bond with Duke, the modifications should not pose any problem.
It is essential, especially with rescued dogs, that the caregivers retain the Alpha status in the home and, in the dog’s mind, the pack. Any time that does not happen, the dog becomes stressed, unwanted behaviours occur and the animal suffers from the stress of not having his caregivers lead. Sometimes it is a matter of training, but, more often, it is about who is the Alpha in the home. In this situation, all family members loved this little dog and wanted Duke to be a happy, stress free member of the family. This is easily accomplished with some training, for caregivers and dog alike, and a shift in the Alpha status.
I am happy to report that change is in the works in this household!
Camille is an animal intuitive. She has communicated telepathically with pets and other animals to determine the causes of problem behaviour and emotional distress. Blue Wolf Speaks by Camille, 204-779-8995, Website, Email.