“You cannot teach a man anything, you can only help him discover it within himself.” Galileo Galilei
We are in our fourth week with Scout, our breeder-dog rescue. And it has been two paws forward, one back.
Scout slowly grew used to us. She would still scamper if I looked at her, but not as quickly, especially if I was in the magic kingdom of…the kitchen.
At night, when we’d settle down on the couch, she’d sit between us to be pet, even snuggle against my leg. Progress, sweet progress.
She did have some quirks. If I offered her a treat from my hand, she would often shy away. But, if I had a sandwich on the couch, she’d try to snout-shove my hand from the plate to get some. Suddenly, she’s a hungry sumo wrestler.
Those who haven’t followed our breeder rescue story, Scout’s prior life was producing countless litters her four years on this planet. She had no social skills, had never been walked.
This week we took her for her third walk of Long Beach “street life.” She sniffed around a tree, her first time knowing whiz-mail. But she didn’t find anything whiz-worthy:
Back at home, I thought it was time for some early training.
Mistake. Big mistake.
I had trained our past pooch, Bailey, to sit and wait before charging to her dish for a treat. I thought Scout was ready to start that self-discipline.
But when I told Scout, softly, to, “stay” with my hand out, palm forward, it was as if that hand had hurled a brick. She jumped back, frightened, then flew, a black blur off to her crate.
Later, Cheryl, to remove some food around her mouth, swished a damp cloth across it. Scout leaped like the cloth was sandpaper.
That day and the next Scout would have nothing to do with us. We were definitely on the outs. No couch, no pets, no snuggles.
We took it all as a paw-slap to the back of the head. It was our turn to learn: We gotta remember…this is not…your “routine rescue.” We have since learned that one shouldn’t even stare at breeder rescues, they effectively have PTSD.
So for the last few days, trying to regain her trust, we left her to her own inclinations.
Yesterday morning she approached in the kitchen. She accepted two treats from me. Awwright!
Then, in the afternoon, Cheryl, shopping, was gone for hours. (Yes new dog beds included. Can’t have too many dog beds around here.)
Eager for Cheryl’s return, sharp-eared Scout listened for every rustle from the hallway:
Finally, Cheryl, like a Marine, home from the Middle East…marched in. Toward the end of this video, you can still see shyness. Nevertheless, it was a welcome home:
It’s being open to learning.
From each other.
It’s a mutual thing.