Hand Shy. 8 Months Old and Left With the Vet to be Put to Sleep.
The young Staffie/Dogue de Bordeaux had been dropped off at the surgery anonymously with a story of his owners splitting up and no rescue centre willing to take him. Fortunately the veterinary nurse, a past client of mine, took him home with her. She found him a new home with friends.
Frankie is hand shy
His new family of three days, a lovely couple with their two daughters, have called him Frankie.
Frankie is in good shape physically but he is hand-shy. He has air-snapped at a couple of people who have put their hand out to him. This has been preceded by growling but because this was ignored the ‘go away’ warning was naturally stepped up a little. Then he was scolded. A mistake. Warnings shouldn’t be discouraged. We should listen to what the dog is saying and deal with the underlying reason – usually fear.
Frankie has quickly got used to his new family but he is becoming increasingly growly and fearful with other people who come to the house. He is much better out in the garden where possibly he feels more free – so long as he’s not approached with an outstretched hand.
Very wisely the new family have called for help early on, so hopefully we can nip in the bud behaviours including being hand shy which may have caused him to have been abandoned in the first place.
I myself demonstrated how to teach Frankie first of all to relax with me, and then to come to my hand instead of avoiding it; within a while he had changed from growling at me to happily touching my hand when I held it out in front of him and even above his head.
They will need to work on this with family members to start with. It needs to be taken slowly and gradually. He needs to associate people with nice stuff. He also seems to have some problems with being left alone and he pulls on lead. These things can be addressed with patience and understanding, two qualities his new family have.
Frankie is a clean slate at the moment and they are slowly getting to know him as he settles in and displays his real self.