The first in a small series of blog’s following our journey and process of adopting a bulgarian rescue dog, the highs and the lows. We had been looking for a new dog friend for Marshall, after the lockdown it became really apparent that he was missing his daily interactions with other dogs and was starting to take risks (like running across busy roads) just to get a sniff of another dog.
We looked all over the UK however with so much red tape and rescues under enormous pressure just to look after dogs let alone deal with all the ongoing admin (I have worked in many a rescue and know only too well how much they have to juggle with limited resources) so we kept our eyes and ears open when we spotted Buttercup at LIFE in Bulgaria where Marshall came from.
As we already had a rescue dog from there and were in regular communication with them, we didn’t have to go through home checks and were approved for adopting her.
We were originally told it would be April time however a window opened up for her to come much sooner and so the preparations began.
Now Buttercup had a different start to Marshall, we were told ‘she is great with kids, others dogs and cats’ however she is timid, not lead training or trained in much at all. When she gets to know you she is very sweet, loving and playful. Sounded like the perfect dog for Marshall.
They are getting on just fine, she is growing in confidence every day and learning to relax and trust us. While Marshall is not so keen on sharing his sofa all the time, he does do it once or twice a day and is helping her to feel settled and confident. She likes her soft toys and having tummy rubs.
I’m going to be honest, It has been bumpy living with an anxious dog that needs house training, yet in a few days Buttercup cracked the concept of toilet training with only a couple of accidents here and there. Having an upset tummy made it a little messy, which to be fair is pretty much what I used to be like too when my life was stressful. We simply gave her lots of rest, relaxation, fluids, fresh air and good food oh and of course an abundance of love and kindness and we are now really starting to get to know her happy personality as she’s been catching up on some much needed sleep.
Toilet training breakthroughs
So let’s talk about the toilet training breakthroughs, in summary it was partly because of solids poos, less stress, more confidence AND we worked with a dog trainer.
Working with a positively and games based dog trainer was really important to our family as we wanted to encourage our little girl to become more confident naturally and not get it wrong from the off. As she was showing a couple of signs we weren’t sure of I felt it ESSENTIAL that the humans get trained in how to handle a nervous rescue dog from a professional.
Shaking the Stress
Now dogs are incredible at ‘shaking’ off their stress, however stress can still become stacked up to the point of overloading their system and leaving them with no coping mechanism. as Buttercup tends to cower to the floor when she’s had enough it could be confusing especially for a child, to read that as an invitation to play or engage rather than the need for a time out (when we say time out we don’t mean the naughty step, we just mean some quiet time in her den or with something to chew to help her calm and relax).
The key thing for us, was getting buttercup housetrained so that none of us had to deal with accidents in the home and then the next was to build up her confidence around being on the lead with traffic moving around so we could walk her to the local beauty spot for some much needed woodland, lakes and countryside walks rather than being caught up walking through a cemetery or through backstreets and alleyways as they are all concrete and not even remotely calming or soothing for the psyche.
With a reactive dog it is easy to see when they have reached their limit, with a passive dog like Buttercup it is less easy, so we really wanted to give her some tools to help her.
So we changed her walks to avoid traffic as much as possible and went out of the house with the view that we may need to abort a walk if something happens that is too much, which did actually help a LOT as instead of forcing he to come along for the walk, we took her home to safety and she could sleep it off. This made a difference within 24 hours!!! And it certainly helped buttercup to learn how much she could trust us. This had a positive knock on effect on her as she started to go through the night without any accidents, which meant she woke up and started her day in a better place!
Stay tuned for more updates about Buttercup’s story, the next blog in the series will be up soon!
In the meantime if you have recently adopted a dog or looking for some help with your beloved animal, book an in-depth animal communication session and find out exactly what your animal needs and what it wants to reach optimum health and happiness.
The work that I do is heart centred and essential that we are the right fit to work together, like foxy whispering in my ear here! I offer you a complimentary chat on the phone over a virtual cuppa before booking a session with me.
From the heart,
Ruthy D x x