Saturday, December 29

Paddington Pup's education

Paddington the Staffie pup is the latest pup to come into the North Clwyd Animal Rescue center. He came into the rescue at quite a crucial stage in his behavioural development. The first several months of a puppy's life creates the behavioural blue print for the dog the pup will grow up into.  This is why growing up in a rescue center environment presents big challenges and requires special considerations.
My advice to people taking on a puppy is to let it meet 100 people and 100 dogs calmly and politely  before the pup is 8 months old, with the bulk of this before they are 6 months old. In the rescue center environment this can be difficult as it requires a lot of time and arranged meetings with other well mannered polite dogs who can help teach them correct doggie behaviour.

Paddington got to meet many dogs and people during his stay at NCAR so his education was positive and will hopefully set him up for his progression into a family and continued education.
Fern the American Bulldog was a big help to Paddy, she was calm and considered providing Paddington with a good example to follow in all the situations they were in together.

Using older calmer dogs to help teach pups is something we try to do as often as possible at NCAR and we have had great success in this area. Very few of the well socialised and educated pups go on to develop behavioural problems, as opposed to under-educated dogs and/or socially unskilled pups who often develop behavioural issues.

some examples of such sessions...

Here Rhianna the lurcher taught these two collie pups both how to play chase games and also how to calmly explore their surroundings.
In this session the Welsh Corgi kept these 3 pups in order by not letting their play get too boisterous.

Big Jake got the excitable pup Dizzy to calm down and begin to consider things instead of just charging about.
Big Heidi also helped Dizzy by letting him know (in no uncertain terms) that jumping up at other dogs is not what you do!
Brittany the Staffie taught this staffie pup how to play without getting itself into trouble by being too rough.
This Beagle got this nervous pup playing by enticing it into some easy going chase games.
Chester the big easy going Akita gave Jasmine the chance to be around a big dog in a nice calm atmosphere without any worry of trouble.
Percy the tubby pup spent a lot of time with Kya the Staffie and Rhianna the Lurcher as these two grown ups played well and relaxed well together, Percy slotted right in with them.
Percy also went for walk with the less sociable Strider who taught him that not every dog wants to meet, greet and play! Sometimes just calmly walking together is enough.

Dumping puppys before they have had a chance of developing into well balanced, social and relaxed dog can cause huge behavioural problems in the not to distant future. At NCAR we'll continue to try and keep these abandoned pups on the right path so they don't end up with issues later and dumped back on our doorstep! Of course people often take on puppies with the best intentions but don't provide the youngster the education and social skills required to become a socially acceptable dog, issues unacceptable to humans develop and the dog ends up at rescues like NCAR.
Taking on a puppy means you are taking on all the responsibility for guiding that pup into a well balanced, well mannered dog. This means you have to show your pup how to behave in every situation it will ever be involved in. Also, how to behave in all possible scenarios they might be involved in. 
How should they behave in all of these situations and scenarios? With a calm adaptability that gives them the confidence not to react negatively when something unexpected happens.

If all puppies received the training, education and quality life style they deserve from an active positive family, they would grow up into fantastic companions making rescue centers such as NCAR almost empty!

Remember; a dog isn't a domestic pet until you (the owner) domesticate it!

Friday, December 21

Bonding through walking

The simplest way for dogs to bond with each other and with people is an easy relaxed group walk. At North Clwyd Animal Rescue we try hard to walk the dogs together as often as possible so they can practice their social skills and enjoy the company of other dogs.
If dogs aren't keen on other dogs this is often the best way to show them how to be calm around other dogs, and from there they can become curious and start to interact with the dogs which once scared them!

Del out with Snowy (who's now adopted)

Long term resident Strider going for a stroll with the lovely Rhianna

Staffies Sasha and Rebecca

Quiet Del and the fantastic Fern meet whilst on a walk

Fern also gets to go exploring with Rebecca

Kya (now adopted), Rhianna, Penny (adopted) and Juliet (adopted) loved their group walks

Socalising dogs in group walks does take a bit of organising and it doesn't happen as often as we'd like at NCAR, so any volunteers who would like to help out with this type of activity, just let us know!
Adam -

Thursday, December 6

Meeting Strider

Strider is an older Lab and has been a resident at North Clwyd Animal Rescue for a few long years now. He is a calm, sweet and affectionate lad whose big loves in life are walking, chasing balls, and curling up with you for some relaxed attention.

Unfortunately for Strider, during his time before the rescue he learned to distrust strangers and he actively discourages unknown people from trying to stroke him.  This is a tricky issue to resolve in a rescue centre environment, and is a sure fire way of ensuring Striders chances of finding a forever home are very slim.  It is very rare for a potential adopter to want to spend a few hours with a rescue dog in order to gain it’s trust before they can start to build a close and trusting relationship, and this is exactly what Strider needs.

In order to get a good idea of how long Strider takes before he is ready to accept affection and relax with a stranger I took him out for a walk.  Before this, Strider not only saw me as a stranger but has been actively avoiding me or acting defensively near me over the years I’ve volunteered at the rescue, so I was a good test candidate!
Here is the video of how I got on.....

Regular volunteers at NCAR who spend time with Strider have a wonderful relationship with him, he walks well, loves playing fetch the ball and is only too happy to sit on the grass with them and chill out in the sun.

Strider hasn't had much chance to socialise with other dogs, so he pretty much just ignores them. I will continue to socialise him and hopefully he will see that he can have fun with other dogs and expand his horizons (and re-homing chances!).
Here he is offlead with the fantastic Rhianna....

Anybody interested in giving this old boy a few good years in the comfort every dog deserves, be willing to spend quality time with Strider to earn his trust. This means, relaxing walks, a few treats along the way and maybe a few ball games to finish. The key is to not force Strider into interacting with you, or force your affection upon him, just enjoy his company and wait until you have proved yourself trustworthy. The long term rewards will be well worth the small amount of initial effort.
Also, anybody interested in helping Strider, or improving his quality of life, in the meantime would make a big difference to him. Offering to take him on walks or play sessions to show him strangers aren't all scary or will hurt you would be fantastic. Contact me and we can work on introducing you both up at the rescue and start a new mutually rewarding friendship. Adam at

Saturday, December 1

Christmas Open Day

Just a quick reminder that our annual Christmas Open Day will take place on Sunday 2nd December 2012 with stalls, Father Christmas and much much more to see.

Hope to see you there between 11am and 4pm.