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A Man About A Dog: Rescue me
11:56am Wednesday 11th April 2012 in Leisure
In this week's A Man About A Dog column, Peter Singh offers advice on choosing the right rescue dog and has some top tips on introducing your new best friend into your home.
I guarantee you that rescuing a dog from one of the many rescue centres in south east London and north Kent is one of the most rewarding things you will ever do in your life.
As I write this, Pedro and Sanchez, two of my dogs from a Spanish rescue centre, are sleeping snugly in their beds. I still have to pinch myself to realize how blessed and lucky I am to have these two wonderful creations in my life and to think that they were in a centre with no home to go beggars belief.
When choosing a dog from a rescue centre, it is important to follow a few simple rules and use common sense. Be honest and ask yourself what are your energy levels.
Are you a very active type who goes for a run twice a day, or a couch potato who enjoys the slower things in life? This is such an important factor and I can’t stress this enough.
I have known people who are less active than a couch potato go into a rescue centre and walk out smiling with a Husky next to them. This is a complete recipe for disaster. Huskys are the Olympian athletes of the dog world and if you are not prepared to give them two strenuous work outs each day, it will end in tears.
Yes, they’re good looking but it’s not about looks alone. Look at how many marriages have fallen by the wayside because the whole relationship was based on how each other looked!
It’s about energy and does your energy match that of the dog you would like to rescue? If you are a less active person, then rescue a dog that isn’t going to need the exercise of a Premiership footballer in pre season training.
Another very important aspect is your energy when you visit the centre to choose a dog. When you do finally select one of these amazing dogs, don’t feel sorry for the past they have lived. The reason for this is that dogs pick up our sorrow as a weak energy and a weak energy cannot help any species, it only keeps them trapped in their past.
Think about it. If you have been through a traumatic life experience, people feeling sorry for you can’t help you. They just keep you in that victim state of mind. Only calm, balanced people can help you.
When you do meet a dog you think may be your new best friend, take the dog out of the kennel, but don’t start talking to the dog. Most humans find it difficult to keep silent for long, but this is one of those moments when you must.
To communicate with the dog you just need to use your calm energy and body language. Remember, first impressions count and your new dog will feel more at ease with you by using this approach.
Once you have taken the dog out of the kennel go for a calm walk and see how the dog gets along with other dogs. If after all of this you feel that you are both matched, then congratulations! This will be a relationship based on respect of the species, i.e. silent energy, rather than the normal high pitched childish talk many people speak to a dog.
Why people do that, I will never know. Your speaking to a species that can detect cancer quicker than a doctor can write out a prescription for antibiotics!
When you arrive home, make sure you don’t just take your dog straight in your house. Take your new friend for a long walk and then take them into their new home.
The reason for this is because this is migration to a dog and while we now do it in cars it is important that dogs still migrate (walk) with their new owners before they arrive at their new homes. This will feel natural for them because they have gone from one home to another, but have walked first with you to that new home.
When you arrive home, don’t just let your new friend off the lead to roam around the house while you follow. This has to be done calmly and with rules. Walk into all the rooms you are going to allow your dog to frequent and then invite your new dog in.
Above all remember to connect to your dog’s network, which is being calm and living in the moment. And that’s why we need them a lot more than they need us! Enjoy!
Peter is a Dog Behaviourist based in Farnborough. He applies calm to the lives of dogs and dog owners in the UK and Spain. He also writes for English and Spanish newspapers, as well as working on TKO FM radio in Spain.