When we launch A Little White Dog on Friday the latest addition to our family, Chewy will have been with us just under a month. He joins his big sister who we adopted last year – Biz who will be 11 in March. She’s a Staffy/Jack Russell cross (according to our vet) and a wonderful gentle loving little girl. Like so many rescue dogs, Chewy came to use after a rotten start in life. He was underweight, jumpy, didn’t know his name and had spent much of his previous six years locked in a farmer’s shed. The lovely people at
Cocker and English Springer Spaniel Rescue intervened and when we went to meet him it was love at first sight.
Over the coming weeks we’re going to share with you Chewy (and our) journey in the hope that it might inspire you if you haven’t already to think about adopting a rescue dog rather than bringing home that adorable puppy. We’ll also share some tips and our experiences from everything from house training through to recall.
With any decent dog rescue organisation you’ll know exactly what you’re getting yourself into. Not every dog will need training from the ground up – there’s a plethora of potential canine family members out there who are looking for new homes through no fault of their own, stories of owners having sadly passed on, or whose circumstances have changed meaning they’ve had to grudgingly give up their best friend.
With Chewy we had as much of his background as the charity was able to give us – including that he would need house training, although we did have a head start in knowing that he would respond to a whistle.
The most important thing with any doggo when it comes to recall is to never ever punish them when they come to you. Yes, they may have rolled in a dead basking shark (a story for another day) or you may have spent the last ten minutes calling to no avail but you must always reward them with a cuddle, praise and a treat. We’ve seen so many owners make the mistake of admonishing the dog, putting them on the lead and stomp off. Your dog should never be afraid of coming back to you – he or she needs to know that going to mum or dad means love and happy things.
Over the past few weeks we’ve progressed from lead walks and recall training with a long lead to being able to let him off and run around like an absolute lunatic. He’s started to put on weight – over a kilo since he arrived – possibly as a result of “helping” Mark in the kitchen and taste testing his lunch whenever dad forgets that Chewy can reach the work surface.
When we first let him off the lead in an enclosed field we both noticed that as well looking almost painfully thin his rear legs seemed to have a bit of an issue keeping up with what his brain was asking them to do. Whilst Chewy in full flight is still definitely defying of description, as his muscle tone has improved so has his coordination – ever so slightly!
Its been a joy and a privilege to watch Chewy develop and his true personality come out. Chewy’s certainly a bright boy having picked up his name, recall, sit and today he nailed stay. He clearly needed love, patience and plenty of motivation – in the form of treats of course! Mastering this skill has certainly made him a lot easier to photograph. Keep following “A Little White Blog” for more adventures of Chewy. Next we’ll see whether he finally works out what those big blue wet things encountered on his walks are.
Mark and Cat, 29 January 2020