From the street in Romania, to a rescue compound, Billy has now lived in a house for just one week.

A new life

It’s sounds wonderful, but it isn’t yet all wonderful to Billy who is just five months old. These first formative months did not give him the skills he now needs in his new life with a loving couple in a home.

It’s hard to imagine just what a huge adjustment the pup is having to make.

Though much more sensitive than many adoptees of Romanian street dogs, I feel the couple are still pushing Billy too fast into his new world.

Every area of the pup’s new life is affected.

He is very food motivated and ‘greedy’. I can imagine at a very young age he has had to compete for food with either dogs on the streets or the many dogs in the rescue compound. they find his behaviour impossible while they try to eat their own meal. He’s intent on trying to get to their food, oblivious of ‘No’.

He already can’t let the lady out of his sight.

They need a pen. A puppy pen.

He’s fine in the crate so a puppy pen shouldn’t be too much of a challenge for him.

Instead of giving him food in bowls, he can now have various eating occasions during the day – at times when he’s most excitable or troubled. All in the pen ‘where good things happen’.

They will stuff and freeze Kongs and other items, and scatter feed.

At their own dinner time, instead of feeding him first they will put him into his pen with a frozen Kong, allowing them to eat in peace.


They have been trying to teach him not to bite with ‘No’. How can he understand the meaning of this cross sound? He’s doing what he feels he needs to do (grabbing and biting to calm himself down). ‘No’ just piles up the frustration and confusion. The more aroused he is, the more need he has to bite.

Now they will show him the behaviour’s not welcome in the way another dog would – by looking away or even walking away.  Most importantly they will then immediately show him what IS acceptable to chew and bite on. This means a constant source of chewies.

With the pen, the lady can teach Billy that when she walks away from him it’s not the end of the world. He gets food. First she will stay in sight. Later she will go briefly out of the door – and build up from there.

The new outside world

Walks are an area where they feel they are going slowly, but I feel not slowly enough while he habituates to his new life.

Billy will refuse to walk once outside the gate. He’s scared of traffic. The lady then carries him and puts him down again. She carries him by the busy road.

For now I think they should forget about walks as such. Its too much too soon.

They can work on the different elements of a walk separately within Billy’s threshold of feeling safe.

Doing a bit at a time

They can work on loose lead walking around the house and garden – making walking beside a human an enjoyable thing to do.

As their own road is very quiet but from their gate they can see the busy main road a short distance away, they will do traffic watching.

Billy can be on a 30′ line so he can run back indoors whenever he wants. When he joins the lady at the gate, she can feed him every time he looks at the traffic. Over days she will gradually be able to get closer to the traffic – but only as and when Billy decides.

Venturing out on lead

The next part of the walking plan is, when Billy is okay with the traffic at the end of the quiet road, to take the garden loose-lead walking out into their quiet road.

Billy is, strangely, happy in the car. With the long line they can take him somewhere open where he can enjoy himself without too much restraint.

Slowly slowly they will build up from there.

NB. For the sake of the story and for confidentiality also, this isn’t a complete ‘report’ and is always written with permission of the client. If you listen to ‘other people’ or find instructions on the internet or TV that are not tailored to your own dog it can do more harm than good. Click here for help