Saturday, April 23, 2016

A-Z of #Dog Rescue: The Trust Quadre — #AtoZChallenge

Throughout this series, we’ve been throwing around the word trust like a pinball. Getting the dog to trust you is, after all, the cornerstone of rescue. So maybe it’s time to talk about what trust means to a dog—and how you go about getting into their good, trusting, graces.

Dogs are, by nature (and by human domestication) not leaders but followers. They don’t want the Alpha role—and they’ll take it on only when they have no choice. Which is often the case on the street: through abandonment or abuse, a street dog’s covenant with humanity has been broken, and so they’ve had to rely on themselves to survive. But, at the core of every dog, is a nugget of instinct and desire to find safety—in the form of a pack, and a strong leader. 

That means you.

Humans, being the clueless idiots we are, tend to equate leadership with loudness, strong personality, even violence. Dogs, being so much more intelligent than us, see this for the bullying it is—and the weakness it exhibits. For a dog to sense you as a leader, you’ll need to show four things:

Balance

You can’t be nervous. You can’t be excited. You can’t be angry, or sad, or frustrated. Okay, let me rephrase: you can be any of these things, but you can’t let them control you. If you’re not in control of your emotions, how could you ever be in control of the pack? Get in touch with your Zen. Breathe.

Assertiveness

Assertiveness isn’t dominance. It’s not a “my way or the highway” thing; your way is the highway—to safety, to a happy ending for the dog. Believe it, and the dog will believe it, too. 

Respect

Don’t just look at the dog; see him/her. Observe their attitude, their body language. Seek to understand them, and—more importantly—their needs. Establish a line of communication, but not of the here boy kind; your body speaks volumes, much louder, and more effective than any words. Avoid looking them straight in the eye; dogs read eye contact as aggression. Don’t move so fast; give them time to get used to you, to read you, to understand what you want. Bring your hands in from below, never from above. Always keep whatever you’re offering—food, your hand, a leash—under their nose. (Remember the Botched post?)

Use your body language to make it clear you understand what they’re saying to you (I’m afraid, I don’t know what you want), that you respect that, and that you have something important of your own to say (I’m here to help, You don’t have to be alone anymore).

Honesty

Dogs can read you better than a gypsy palm reader at a state fair. (I mentioned that in the Food post—oh, by the way, remember that awesome video of the two-dog rescue on that post? it’s gone now, sadly…) Dogs sense ulterior motives, so honesty really is your best policy. Keep your bag of tricks, such as traps, for the very last of recourses—and prepare yourself: you’ll have a hell of a time gaining that dog’s trust afterwards.


Balance, assertiveness, respect, and honesty. The Trust Quadre.



Thank you so much for the visit! Tomorrow, Sunday, some of us are getting together to try to bring in a group of dogs wandering around Curaçao's World Trade Center. Wish us luck, please... I don't know these dogs, and I'm hoping they're not too skittish, but... well. Luck always comes in handy :)

Have a wonderful day off, A2Z-ers! See you Monday—for the last week of the Challenge! (Phew. Like Jeffrey Scott said at the beginning of this week, when it's over I think I'll sleep for a whole week :D )

45 comments :

  1. Your A to Z series would seriously make an excellent book, Guilie! Spot on advice for anyone involved with dogs in all circumstances. Wishing you great success with tomorrow's rescue operation!

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    1. Thank you, Debbie! Looks like we might get to test the book theory after all, haha :)

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  2. Another great post, Guilie which is valid for anyone with a new dog, whether it's a rescue or not.

    Susan A Eames from
    Travel, Fiction and Photos

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  3. Another great post, Guilie which is valid for anyone with a new dog, whether it's a rescue or not.

    Susan A Eames from
    Travel, Fiction and Photos

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  4. More great tips! I'm with you on sleeping for a week after the challenge.

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    1. Hehehehe... I'm beginning to wonder if a week of sleep will be enough :D

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  5. Another fab post! I tend to believe that dogs know people, they know how to read them, and if a dog doesn't like someone, there's usually a dam good reason! Good luck with the rescue, I hope all goes well, please keep us posted :)
    Debbie

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    1. You are so right, Debbie... I'm with you on dogs being the best judges for people. I see it with my own dogs; we have a couple who are really skittish, but every once in a while someone will come visit and—bam, all of a sudden these scaredy things are begging for belly rubs and sitting on the person's foot (sure sign of trust in this house). Or... not. A couple of people have been bitten. And they've not been asked to return ;)

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  6. You should gather these posts together and write a book on the subject. You clearly know the stuff first hand and there are so many useful tips here.

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    1. Thank you, Kate! I'm so happy you've enjoyed these posts. You're not the only one to mention that about the book—and, as a result, I floated the idea, very tentatively, to my publisher today... Guess what? He's interested. He still has to go through the posts, and, even if he likes them, there'd be a ton of work involved, but... I'm excited anyway :) Thanks for the encouragement!

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  7. Debbie has a good point. This blog theme would make an excellent book to use as a guide. I have learned so much.

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    1. Thank you so much, Ann! Here's to a rescue book release celebration sometime in the near future :)

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  8. Good luck with the rescue. Great pointers!

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    1. Thanks, Holli! Glad you found this interesting :)

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  9. Oh dear, a group of dogs? Be safe and remember all you've taught us. :) I know you will, you're the expert. I'll be thinking of you.
    But oh yes! The last week of the A to Z - all I want is a few weeks of no computer. My husband is astounded by the time I've given this, and honestly, so am I. Never, ever, again! :)
    Have a great Sunday break!

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    1. Thank you, Yolanda! Your positive thoughts made their way to us for sure :) (And YAY for only two more days of A2Z! I see the light, finally, at the end of the sleep-deprivation tunnel :D )

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  10. Thanks again, Guilie, and I wish you every success at the Trade Centre. Let us know how you get on.

    Keith Channing A-Zing from http://keithkreates.com

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  11. Humans, being the clueless idiots we are, tend to equate leadership with loudness, strong personality, even violence. So, so true!

    Best of luck for the Sunday rescue! and for the rest of the challenge,

    Nilanjana.
    Ninja Minion, A-Z 2016
    Madly-in-Verse

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  12. Hi....Came t see where you are.....Love it! Have a Good Day Off! Hugs!

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  13. Thanks Guilie, a reminder that our body language speaks volumes. And good luck with today's rescue!

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    1. Thanks, Susan! I'll be posting something about last week's rescue soon :)

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  14. One more week, and then I can sleep.
    Hope the day goes well for you. let us know how it turns out please.

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    1. We did it, Jeffrey! And now... yes, it's zzzzzzz time :D Thanks for the good wishes on last week's rescue... I'll write an update on that soon. After I sleep :D

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  15. Good luck with the rescue today! I think with your trust quadre you should have great luck :)

    Tracy (Black Boots, Long Legs)

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  16. "through abandonment or abuse, a street dog’s covenant with humanity has been broken, and so they’ve had to rely on themselves to survive" This made me all teary. Good luck on Sunday. I hope I'm a good pack leader and thanks for the advice.

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    1. Yeah, it makes me tear up, too, Pinky. I'm sure you're a fabulous pack leader, and that your dogs adore you :)

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  17. So true, all that you've written. I've never been afraid of dogs, but I'm respectful of them and patient, especially when their new to me. I prefer to let them come to me rather than hurry toward them the way I've seen some people do. I always think, "How would I react if a stranger came at me like that?"

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    1. That's the best approach, Lee—let them approach you. Sometimes it works, sometimes not... But it really is the best way to start. And yeah, I see people approach dogs wrong all the time. It's a miracle not more people get bitten, really.

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  18. Excellent tips and such great advice. How did the rescue go today?? Hoping to hear good news!

    Michele at Angels Bark

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    1. Glad you liked it, Michele! I'll post an update on the rescue later this week. (After I sleep :D )

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  19. A lot of that works for people as well...

    Liz A. from
    Laws of Gravity

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    1. Too right, Liz! Dogs and humans aren't all that different, once all is said and done ;)

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  20. Dogs ARE excellent barometers for human intentions. Whenever our border collie is overly wary of someone, I take that as a bad sign not in their favor. Solid advice all around.

    The AtoZ of EOS
    #TeamDamyanti

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    1. I'm with you, Sam... How does that saying go? "I trust my dog when he doesn't like someone, but I never trust people who don't like dogs"? Something like that. Best judges of character—and intentions—ever :)

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  21. Good luck with the rescue, I hope you get a good outcome for all.

    Mars xx
    @TrollbeadBlog from
    Curling Stones for Lego People

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    1. Thank you, Mars! Your positive thoughts must've helped, I think... It didn't go exactly as planned (ha! as if that ever happened :D ), but some good was done. I'll post an update soon... And thank you for the good wishes.

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  22. Trust is the basis for any relationship and the dogs test this. Excellent post!

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    1. Too right, Birgit... Trust is key :) Glad you enjoyed the post!

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