Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Right Environment Makes a Difference

Just as "every dog needs the right training method  and schedule to progress" we also feel that "every dog needs the right environment to progress".

Each dog that comes through our program teaches US something new about themselves.  It is amazing how much you learn or understand without words being exchanged.  The dogs communicate with how they respond to the environment around them.  Some dogs have good or bad reactions to dogs, kids, cats, traffic out side the home, adult males, adult females, how active the household is or how active the house hold isn't.

We get to know the dogs that come into our program buy spending one on one time with them, training them every day, keeping them on a schedule to help them adjust and taking note of how they are dealing with their surroundings and their training. When we pick up on stress signals, we try to rearrange our routine to help the dog adjust as best as we can.  Once we get a grip of the dogs personality and what the dog needs to progress we start searching for homes that better suit the dog.

Not finding the right environment for a dog could set the dog back with his/her progression and end up causing other issues.  When the environment that the dog is in, is not the right fit a dog can suffer from anxiety and high levels of stress.  Some dogs redirect their stress onto themselves with constant licking, pulling out fur or chewing on a part of their body.  Others pick up destructive behaviors and direct their attention on objects around them or some dogs may even start spinning or tail chasing.

Not being able to find the right environment for a dog showing high levels of stress can make a rescue very worried about the future of that dog.  Private rescues missions should not only be to find these animals the forever home but to make sure the dogs progress physically AND mentally.  We are here to ensure them a safe and content/stable future, not just place them anywhere to keep them alive. That does no good for the dog or the people trying to help the dog and everyone ends up back to square one.

We came across a BAD RAP blog that was very well written, had many points as their blogs always do but one thing that stood out was this quote from a particular section of their blog.

"Instead of blaming the dog (or the breed!), it becomes the obligation of animal welfare workers - especially those who profess to be no-kill -to work to meet all of their shelter dogs' many needs and to acknowledge when an environment is doing more harm than good. It's a challenge, for sure - This work takes an incredible amount of time, human resources and regular soul-searching reality checks. But simply kenneling dogs to keep them alive "no matter what" betrays the very mission of providing compassionate solutions to dogs-in-crisis in the first place."

We feel this applies to not only shelter dogs but private rescue dogs as well.

The dogs that enter in to our program, we don't consider a "safe" UNTIL that forever home is found and secure. When the rescue dogs are waiting long periods of time for their people to find them, their fate is still up in the air.  Finding the right fit is not easy and may take some time. When you see a group that is adopting out multiple dogs with in a month or weeks of them entering a group something is not right.  There are things being over looked and the process is being rushed which in turn may not secure a long term future for the dogs.

Private rescues are usually home based foster homes that are "temporary" housing for the dogs in need.  The fosters do a lot of hard work getting these dogs home ready. They are there to help the new dog become manageable and to address any behavior issues or problems that may be displayed by the dog before entering a forever home. There are times where even the foster homes are not the right fit for the dogs they are caring for. Their environment may not be suiting the dogs needs properly and a new foster or forever must be found before the dog is set back too much or starts to develop issues that cause concern .

In the rescue community  there needs to be a massive amount of "team work" to help these dogs. Rescues should support other rescues and cross post when a dog in their care is of urgent need. Not getting help for  a dog that is displaying extreme amounts of stress will have an effect on the dogs future.

The sad reality is that there is an overwhelming amount of animals that need homes! When you have a "special needs" dog help may not come in time to relieve their suffering. We would like to say  - there is someone out there for ever dog - but when you weigh out the population number with humans to animals you will see that is far from being true.

We all do what we can with what we have and we all try to make our environments fit every dogs needs. Unfortunately every environment is not for ever dog just like every dog is not for every person.  We have to realize when it's not working and reach out for help before it is too late for the dog in need of change.

The right environment can be beneficial or detrimental to dog.
With this blog we hope you all understand that there is a lot that plays a part in keeping these dogs physically and mentally stable.  The proper socialization (with people & other animals), training, health care, nutritional care, exercise and environment are all the ingredients to seeing a dog thrive and have a great life. You need all of these things for the dog to progress properly.  Not one. . .not some. . .

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