Meet Maisie – shutdown rescue pup, now enjoying a new found confidence and love for life.
Maisie has joined our Tuesday morning beginners class, here's what Maisie's owner has to say -
We got Maisie at the beginning of January at the age of four months. The history we were given was that she was found alone on the streets of Romania at about two months and taken to a kill centre, from there to a public shelter and then the rescue centre. When we received her, she was completely shut down and wouldn’t move. She wasn’t aggressive, just absolutely terrified.
I made a safe place for her in a crate but she wouldn’t leave the crate and would only eat at night when there was no one there. I tried coaxing her out of the cage and did a little bit of basic training where she didn’t have to move (touch). She started to gain little bits of confidence each day and was introduced to our resident dog Chester which helped enormously. After seven weeks, she still hadn’t made it into the garden, so we did a little garden time each day, along with Chester and each day she trembled slightly less.
I noticed she was at her happiest and most calm when she was with Chester but she wouldn't walk on lead. So I started taking the lead on and off multiple times each day for about two weeks, making no fuss. Whilst she would now move with the lead on at home, she still didn’t want to go for a walk on lead. I bought a V lead so that Maisie could walk right next to Chester and took the plunge - this seemed to work and so we started doing walks together each day and this is when we saw the biggest improvement.
I thought I'd capitalize on the new confidence so started Scentwork, which I have been doing with Chester for a number of years now. The first session Maisie was not overly keen on going into the hall, but with the encouragement of the other dogs going in, she slowly made her way in, in her own time when she felt confident enough . She is really not comfortable with people but loves other dogs so found her confidence here to start with. The session started with some free searching which saw Maisie take three pieces of food out of a possible 30, this in itself was a massive achievement as she isn’t particularly food motivated and she hasn’t taken any treats in the few times she has left the house. Slowly over the first session with the help of people ignoring her, a little encouragement from me and dogs playing with her she came out of her shell and by the end of the first session with the help of Sarah she had realized what her nose was there to do and was searching a row of 13 boxes!!!!
The second session showed the same leap in confidence, Maisie walked into the hall, tail held high, the change in confidence was really rather incredible and she was happily introduced to the scent of clove. Whilst there were still a few moments when Maisie could have reverted back to her less confident self, once she got back to searching, that confidence came straight back. The body language was wonderful to watch, especially when I think back to how she first started with us.
She has completely transformed as a dog and we seem to have a new active, inquisitive, happy, naughty puppy on our hands. Scentwork it seems has given Maisie a coping strategy within a positive environment which has helped her confidence grow in leaps and bounds rather than feeling the need to get away from people and hiding. We are taking small steps, but what amazing steps they are.
Scentwork really is suitable for all dogs. How can we help your rescue dog? #nationalpetmonth