This Article is About
shelter dogs
stay calm
jerky movements
Shy Shelter Dogs: Step 2
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Shy Shelter Dogs: Step 2

So now you've read step one on shy shelter dogs, I hope. If not, go on back and read it on my profile. Okay, now that you've read step one, you are ready for the second step. Contact. Things to remember:

  • Stay calm (yeah, I'm like a broken record/cd)
  • No jerky movements, move smoothly and naturally
  • Be observant, you should always be super aware of your surroundings while in a kennel

So at this point you should be able to stand in front of the dog calmly without stressing the dog out, (or your supervisors). Every shy shelter dog has its own little quirks, so I'll just give the rundown on whats been typical in my experience.

Without looking at the dog directly, crack open the kennel door and slide in. If he comes to sniff you ignore him, if he barks ignore him, if he runs to the back of the kennel ignore him. What you want to do is give the impression the dog bores you, therefore, he is of no interest whatsoever. I like to lean against the kennel wall and talk to the dog in the next kennel. When my shy dog comes over I tend to look down surprised like "oh, you're here too?" If it seems safe to do so, reach out and gently stroke the dogs muzzle. I know that may seem like a stupid place to start with, but its always worked for me. Maybe it tells the dog I'm confident, or maybe it shows I have nothing to hide.

At any rate once I have contact I keep control of the situation. I walk around the kennel, if he stops in front of me I nudge him aside, and keep walking. I don't pet him when he wants to be pet but when I feel like petting him. Basically, I want him to know that I respect him and I'm no threat, and that I'm there at my own leisure.

At this point I'm visiting him every day and sitting in his kennel chillaxing.

Once the dog respects you as a human and part of his world, you begin to develop a solid trust. If I can make it to this point with a dog, I can easily raise his paws to inspect for fox-tails, pick him up, hug, and restrain him as you would for a blood draw.

After this stage I generally just chill with the dog in all my spare time. Its good to walk him around the public areas of the animal shelter and get him used to people and seeing how he reacts with the general rabble of shelter volunteers and staff. Once he's gotten used to everything the shelter assessor may want to have him temperament tested.

That's it for now, but you can check out more at my website if you're interested.

Street Talk


Enjoying your articles, please keep them coming. Your tips are also helpful for all dog owners in my opinion.

  about 7 years ago
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