The young couple rescued their stray dog about six years ago. When they moved to the UK last year they had to leave him behind in Portugal with relatives. A few days ago they went to fetch him.
Despite only being over here for a couple of days, mixed breed Tagus is adjusting surprisingly well.
My job is to help them make his new life get off to the very best start.
My immediate advice was to simply give him time to settle in. There is no hurry.
Go slowly and let him explore.
We did a ‘behaviour MOT’ and found just a few areas where they could make things a little easier for both themselves and for Tagus.
They could improve their walks and Tegus’ recall. I will show them how to walk him near to them because he wants to and not because they give him no choice. The lead will be loose.
When on lead he may react when he sees some dogs and certain kinds of people. His reaction triggers negative consequences. They may scold him and tighten his lead. This, in turn, creates neck discomfort.
They will now make a new start with walks. Comfortable equipment is vital. Dogs and people he’s uneasy of should, instead, trigger good things. He should feel safe. He needs to be able to trust the person holding his lead.
Back at their home in Portugal Tegus would alarm bark on hearing noises or passing people. In his new home they will make a new start by how they deal with people walking past the house and mail coming through the door. It will involves blocking his access to certain areas as well as helping him out.
They will also give him activities that enrich his life and keep him in a stable mental state. He will work for some of his food. Everything works together.
It’s a new start for them too.
They can establish some new habits with this new start. In the past he has peed indoors from time to time. They had no garden so had to rely upon walks. He will learn ask to go out and to toilet in the garden.
As part of his new start, we will do some clicker training, beginning with a hand touch. To quote www.brilliantfamilydog.com, ‘Teaching a dog a simple hand-touch can develop a new understanding between you…”
So, eight-year-old Tegus is at a new phase in his life. A new start. He will lose a bit of weight and learn to walk nicely. By how his humans behave, he will soon feel more confident on lead. He will reliably come back when called so that he can run free. He will be given enriching activities to exercise his jaw and his brain.
He’s a lucky boy.