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No vacancies at the shelters and helping by fostering

It is interesting to read that the Costa Blanca News is now offering half price advertising to help animals in need. There appears to be an increasing number of dogs in all the shelters over the summer months and see they are advertising they have many dogs looking for new homes.

Last week I had a phone call from a lady whos dog and partner will be coming over in nine months time and said she would like to foster a dog for a while for some company and asked did I know if any of the shelters did this. I told her that is was my understanding that all the shelters will in fact foster dogs as this is a way of reducing the number actually in the shelters and whos volunteer staff are trying to keep up with the influx.

This is also great for the dogs that need to keep in touch with living with humans and in homes. The vast majority of dogs for all the numerous reasons they have to go to shelters are only use to a home life and a loving family. If you can help maintain that sort of family contact, this will help and reduce the pressure on the staff at the shelters.

If you feel you would like to help your local shelter and interested in giving a dog the chance to live in a house once again then please give them a call.

If you have any experience in rehabilitation of dogs or are interested in helping them to have a better chance of finding a new home by curing problems then please call in at your local shelter. I am certain you will be most welcome.

You will find a few dogs that no longer trust humans because of the way previous owners treated them in the past. You will find some dogs there because they are either timid or aggressive or sent to the shelter because it had a problem that the owners could not live with. In order for such dogs to find a home, they need help from ordinary people willing to try to correct any of these problems. I am always available to help anyone who would be interested but maybe is uncertain of his or her ability so does not take that first step. Believe me it is very rewarding to see a dog change back into a normal dog once again.

This week I returned from my travelling and collected Winston from the kennels. It is nice to see him so happy to see me when I walk through the gate. He can hardly contain himself so I must be doing something right with him after all.

This time we have his friend Rocky back with us plus the dog that had guarded a workbench for four years and had barked all of the time. I will call him Ollie for these articles. My first thought was that this is going to be fun.

Rocky is back for some more fostering as he is a big dog and because he has never had a family life he is a little fearful of just what people are going to do to him. The way people approach him makes him frightened and the shelter say he is warning them to keep away yet he is such a loving dog. I find it is better to call a dog over to you than to chase after it.

Nevertheless, because of his size it is important to try to rehabilitate him as well at try to find and to push all the buttons that could make him feel aggressive and cure these feelings for him. I will give him a bath tomorrow and see how he takes to that. Not many dogs like having a bath at the best of times but he needs one badly and I am certain that with his medium coat he will brush up well.

Ollie is staying with us for five days as the owners are having a short break and worried about placing him in kennels. The gas collar has stopped him barking but if you remember that for four years, he guarded a workbench. Now it seems once released from the bench he has taken to guarding the owners. That is all he knows what to do. However, he had reduced his reluctance in letting the owners leave the property or the go outside of the car but now he seems to have reverted to his former state and even to use aggression towards the owners.

This is actually quite a normal reaction following the dominancy retraining used by the owners as the dog is loosing its position within the pack. It therefore has no other way to defend his position other than by showing aggression and it works. The owners are now very weary of his aggressiveness and he knows this.

It does sound strange that a dog should treat his owners as his wards and needs to protect them but when they came to my house Ollie chased Winston and Rocky out of the house with its show of aggression. Neither of them would come back into the house. Amber said Winston was a big girls blouse when another little dog barked at him and chased him away.

What the owners need now is to purchase some good quality gardening gloves and to just do what ever they want to do even if there is a show of aggression. If it bites their hand, it will not hurt and the dog will learn aggression is useless.

The problem is when you try to stop a dog doing one thing what do you find to replace it. Possibly, as this dog had completed an obedience course, maybe the owners could take up agility training with Ollie to take his mind off guarding.

With me, he has been great and once the owners had gone he no longer showed aggression to my dogs. He did whine a couple of times in the back of my car but responded to my command of "Shut up". He walks with us on his lead and not been a problem at all. He certainly has not shown any sign of trying to protect me when I go out on my own. I have gone quietly back to the house to see if they were making any noise but as I always take them out for a long walk before I go out all three were fast asleep on the kitchen.

Yesterday I had a lady visit us with her two dogs one of which was badly hurt by two dogs that attacked it. They drove into the garden to see three barking dogs at the kitchen door causing her dog to shiver with fear. The lady let her two dogs out and the one that the dogs had attacked was very weary. I first brought Winston out and held him by his collar as we let them introduce themselves. As I watched their body language, I was eventually able to let Winston go and they started to play. When they were happily charging about all over the place I let Rocky out followed by Ollie and all five dogs were having great fun with one another.

The only way I can help keep dogs from attacking your dogs is for you to use compressed air but Roger (Mugford) has still not yet brought it back onto the market.

Finally we went for a walk and there was no longer any sign of fear of dogs and I hope it never meets any dogs that would attack it again but it is so common and this dog is submissive to almost any dog. The other problem was that this dog does like other dogs and when it sees another dog, it wants to go to meet it and play. The problem is it is a big dog and has the pulling power to almost match Rocky.

I made her up a lead like mine and gave some advice on retraining for pulling on the heelwork. Normally the dog's heelwork is fine but it has learnt that if it wishes to go to see another dog it can pull the owner over to where it wants to go. It is still a puppy even if it is a bit large and only needs to know how to behave and for the owner to know how to train for this problem.

Many people only try to train when the problem occurs instead of positively seeking out the problem and being prepared for it and so can train the dog.

For this lady and her dog I have made an appointment to meet to walk with her and her dog on the Arenal next Friday afternoon. If you have, a problem it is better to face it than hide form it. Normally this dog walks in the country so meeting dogs is relatively rare. On Friday it will meet many dogs so we have a good chance of curing this problem and for the dog to realise it cannot go to meet every dog it wishes to and to obey the handler.

I could use compressed air in the same way as I retrained Winston but I think with the advice I have given to the owner and how she should use the lead I think compressed air will not be necessary but we will see.

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