Pet Sitting Business 101

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Working with skitish dogs

Posted on December 3, 2018 at 9:10 PM

Working with rescue dogs... A former client who's previous dog had passed contacted me recently and said they were getting a rescued puppy (9 months old). A Sato who's mother was brought to a shelter, pregnant, in Puerto Rico. The puppy was born and raised in the shelter when they got her, she was scared of everything they explained when I went over to meet their new dog. They wanted me to come twice a day.

My first visit she cowered in the back of the crate she was in, shaking. I just lay down in front of the crate talking to her until she relaxed (see first picture). Then I crawled slowly into the crate watching her body language for any signs of fear aggression. I put my hand out for her to sniff it and gave her a few pats on the head and scratched her ears. I was also supposed to feed her but had no luck so I left the food bowl in the crate with her and went to my next visit.

On my second visit I repeated the same slow process trying to earn her trust. The food was still in the bowl so I pulled some out eventually and held it in front of her and after a bit she started to eat of my hand, progress. Near the end of my visit I was able to get the leash on her and pull her out and took her out in the front yard for a few minutes, she did not pee but some progress.

On the second day I repeated the same slow process and got her out for longer periods of time and on the second visit she peed outside, success. The next week she started to wag her tail when I showed up. I started taking her on the street first one house down then to the end of their street, several houses. Today we rounded the corner and did half a loop, until she spotted several dogs being walked, got nervous and turned around and wanted to go back home.

It's a slow process with some rescue dogs, patience is the key, go at their pace and always watch their body language for cues to their mood. The goal is to slowly earn their trust never rush them. The puppy now wags her tail frequently, leans in to be pet and come right out of her crate when I clip the leash on. Tomorrow I will work on getting around the whole loop and getting her more comfortable when seeing other dogs.

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