This morning I went back to the shelter to work with Shelby. She was just as fearful as the night before. I had to almost drag her across the street to the grassy area and then she just sat there for at least 10 minutes. I was waiting patiently; after all patience is a virtue Shelby is teaching me. Eventually, she got up and started to sniff around. And then she followed me behind the little church house. Well, that was a little bit better than last night but by far not as good as on Tuesday.When I returned this afternoon I noticed on the billboard that someone else took her out again. I must admit, I don’t understand why some people do that. I had a sign on her crate that said, “please do not walk Shelby. She gets walked twice a day by Iris.” That sign was taken away. I always crossed her name off on the list so that volunteers would choose dogs that haven’t been walked yet. Oh well.Unfortunately, she didn’t do any better this afternoon. She actually was just as fearful as yesterday evening. So rather than waiting, I decided to take her back inside and walk other dogs instead. While taking out Dudley, Sloan drove around the corner. He had the boys in the back and since one of his clients just canceled her appointment, he decided to walk our boys with the dogs from the shelter. We walked the boys with Cricket, the “dog-aggressive” Rottweiler, Mozelle, the sweet Rottweiler female, Montana, the shy and fearful German Shepherd mix. While walking the dogs, Sloan asked me how Shelby was doing and he heard my disappointment in my voice.
“The only way how you can help this dog is when you take her home. Here she won’t improve much as long as the other volunteers are following the program.” I heard his words and I agreed with him. “But do you think the boys would accept her and get along with her?”, was my reply. Sloan couldn’t answer that question.
When I returned with Montana, I saw how Joani took out Shelby. Shelby stood outside of the door and was about to lay down. Joani spoke with Shelby in her high-pitch voice begging the dog to follow her. I approached Joani and said, “Please, stop speaking in that high-pitch voice. It doesn’t help her. Instead, grab the leash shorter, lift her up and give her a tug. Don’t speak to her, just move forward and hopefully, she will follow you.” With those instructions, I walked inside the building while Sloan and my 2 boys waited outside. When I came outside, Sloan told me that as soon as I disappeared behind the door, the lady fell back into her old behavior of speaking to the dog and begging her to move. “You see, you are wasting your time with this dog as long as other people walk her.” Unfortunately, I had to agree with him.
While eating dinner, I asked Sloan, “so what do you think, can we bring Shelby home?” He said, “I don’t know why not.” I was surprised about his answer. I told him that this would be the opportunity for us to prove to ourselves how good we are as dog trainers. We trained our own dogs, we competed with them in Schutzhund, we went to seminars with Debbie Zappia, Gene England, Kate Lawrence, we read the Cesar Millan books and dozens of other dog behavior books but this would be the opportunity for us to put all our knowledge into action.
Sloan agreed with me to take Shelby home. We agreed that we would bring her home for the weekend to see how she and the boys would get along. If there isn’t a problem we will keep her longer. That is a fair decision.
We both got excited about our decision. “Let’s watch the Cesar DVD again about bringing a dog home”, was Sloans next response. That was a good idea; after all we want to make sure we introduce the dogs correctly.
I must admit I felt so excited tonight, I started cleaning up the house. This is so funny, when I am looking forward to something or someone, I always feel excited to clean up. Not that Shelby cares if our house is clean or not, but I want it to be clean so that I don’t have to worry about cleaning up this weekend. Instead I can devote all my time for her and my boys.
Wow, we decided tonight to bring Shelby home tomorrow. This is going to be interesting; this is going to be exciting. I know we will learn a lot from this experience.