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Old 03-21-2010, 11:22 AM
 
Location: Suffolk County
826 posts, read 2,590,736 times
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As I've mentioned in a previous poster, my husband and I were looking to adopt a young or adult rescue dog from South Carolina. The first dog we saw, last week, did not socialize with us at all and was more interested in the foster parents dog.

We went to an event yesterday for the same rescue. we interacted with all of the adult dogs and have noticed that all of them have their tails in between their legs (just like the other dog did when we went to her own foster home environment). Also, one dog we were waiting for came and seemed like he had a good temperment (being treated for heartworm) and we spent like 20 minutes with him and then a stranger came over for a second and he gave them a kiss. I'm just wondering if maybe these dogs aren't choosing us for a reason? We have 3 cats and I don't know if that would affect the situation. I wanted so much to adopt a young adult rescue but it seems that we just can't interact with these dogs b/c they don't want to socialize with us. I do understand these dogs have been through a lot with living in a shelter and being transported, etc. and we don't know their history. It seems either they want to be with other dogs or it seems to us that as far as the other dog giving the stranger a kiss after not even interacting with her, the dog does not think that we are the right people to adopt him.

I think a dog chooses it's owner. We did spend 20 minutes with this guy and alone and he didn't socialize well with us (in another world or just not paying attention), and then gives a complete stranger kisses, wouldn't you agree that he's not the one for us or am I overreacting? I'd like to get to know a dog but before I decide to take him/her home to my house.

At this point, I am looking into adopting a rescue puppy b/c I see their personalities have not been affected so much as the older dogs. If I do find an older dog who has a great personality, who can show it to us, of course I would adopt. But it's so hard to tell how these dogs at this rescue are going to react once they are settled.

I'm curious to hear input and opinions on this. Thanks.
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Old 03-21-2010, 11:29 AM
 
Location: West Coast of Florida
1,439 posts, read 2,492,615 times
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You just haven't met the right dog yet. Patience...don't over think it. Your dog will present himself/herself when the time is right. And I have a feeling it's a lot sooner than you think.
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Old 03-21-2010, 11:50 AM
 
501 posts, read 1,112,132 times
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I found our rescue dog online via a petfinders.com photo. She was in Washington, and we live in Oregon. Dh was in a city an hour away from the border (I was at home over 4 hours away), and he agreed to go have a visit, and the rescue brought her down from Northern WA to the state line.

She came out of their car, and once she'd been introduced to dh, she raised up on her hind legs, and put her paws on his chest, like "you are it - take me home now". Next, she pulled the rescue person via her leash closer to dh's truck (as he was talking with the guy) and jumped in our truck.

She had a few stitches from a dog attack at the rescue, and the guy wanted to take her back to have them removed before handing her over. DH said he'd never seen a dog look more sad. Two days later, they brought her back for us to adopt, and darned if she didn't jump right back in the cab of his truck, fast. I'd thought that her initial jumping up to put her paws on dh might just be a habit she had, but in over 2 years, she has never done that again. Not once.

I've never rescued a dog before in my life before this. I am also of the opinion based on my experience that you will know right away if it is a good match. She has been not much different in attitude than the dogs we raised from pups - it is pretty amazing to run across a dog raised elsewhere, who clearly suffered through a bad patch of road and yet is exactly the kind of spirit and attitude that we are used to having around now. She was extremely underweight (I thought she wasn't going to recover from it), and if you raised your arm in a certain way to pet her, she would cringe, duck and jump back a few feet, as though someone had hit her. Took awhile, but that reaction is almost 97% gone, and given how sweet natured she is, I don't think she spent her whole life in that kind of situation.

We helped her find the road back to feeling safe and loved again, and while maybe it doesn't always work out this way, I can't even tell you how cool it has been to have this happy, joyful little dog in our home. But it wouldn't surprise me that most times, you might not find the best match up in the first so many dogs you check out, but don't let that stop you from looking for that special connection that is out there somewhere.

Good luck in finding a kindred dog spirit!

Last edited by sugarsugar; 03-21-2010 at 12:51 PM.. Reason: clarity; mis-spelling
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Old 03-21-2010, 12:02 PM
 
7,422 posts, read 13,728,806 times
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yeah, you'll find your dog. just be patient!

in the meantime you might want to read the book "calming signals" by turid rugaas. it's a good overview of dog body language, and it includes some ways to translate friendly dog body language to the human body. it's not necessarily the case, but there might be something you're doing unconsciously with your body that is making the dogs nervous or uncomfortable.
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Old 03-21-2010, 12:57 PM
 
13,345 posts, read 25,601,842 times
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I wonder if people think a new dog or rescue dog should automatically fawn on them or seek affection, etc. It's not always the case. In fact, I haven't automatically loved a dog when I first meet him or her. (I adopt multiple seniors). I've adopted several dogs without meeting them. My experience is, I grow to love them as I get to know them. They come to interact with me more as they get more comfortable and get to know me. Now, there have been a couple of dogs I've taken who I knew were "shy", due to abuse or neglect or hoarding, and wasn't sure how much they'd warm to me, if at all. A couple came to warm to me a lot, one has slightly in her own way- she follows me around, sits or lies near me, but just doesn't want to be within arm's length. I think she'd make a lousy single pet! but as part of my little gang, she's fine.
I'd take the word of that rescuer or shelter or foster home that knows the animal, what they think will happen over time. Any adoptee needs to settle down and get to know you.
Yes, some might take to you (or anyone) right away. But if that doesn't happen right away, it doesn't mean dislike or that the animal won't warm to you. It just takes some time and comfort level.
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Old 03-21-2010, 01:00 PM
 
1,422 posts, read 4,641,112 times
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I talked to a behaviorist once about how to select the right dog for me. The behaviors I remember the most were the dog's interest in me and some amount of deference. After they have had a chance to settle in with their visit with you, if they don't pay attention and are completely distracted, keep looking. Don't feel too bad about the dog licking someone else after ignoring you. Dogs can sense your vibes, so relax, but be yourself. You'll find the right dog that clicks with you! You will know when it's right. Trust your gut.
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Old 03-21-2010, 01:14 PM
 
4,541 posts, read 13,139,419 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brightdoglover View Post
I wonder if people think a new dog or rescue dog should automatically fawn on them or seek affection, etc. It's not always the case. In fact, I haven't automatically loved a dog when I first meet him or her. (I adopt multiple seniors). I've adopted several dogs without meeting them. My experience is, I grow to love them as I get to know them. They come to interact with me more as they get more comfortable and get to know me. Now, there have been a couple of dogs I've taken who I knew were "shy", due to abuse or neglect or hoarding, and wasn't sure how much they'd warm to me, if at all. A couple came to warm to me a lot, one has slightly in her own way- she follows me around, sits or lies near me, but just doesn't want to be within arm's length. I think she'd make a lousy single pet! but as part of my little gang, she's fine.
I'd take the word of that rescuer or shelter or foster home that knows the animal, what they think will happen over time. Any adoptee needs to settle down and get to know you.
Yes, some might take to you (or anyone) right away. But if that doesn't happen right away, it doesn't mean dislike or that the animal won't warm to you. It just takes some time and comfort level.
I agree wholeheartedly with this post.

Do you have a particular dog breed that you're considering because you know what their temperament is and you feel that it fits with your lifestyle and interests?
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Old 03-21-2010, 01:16 PM
 
3,651 posts, read 8,311,553 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brightdoglover View Post
I wonder if people think a new dog or rescue dog should automatically fawn on them or seek affection, etc. It's not always the case. In fact, I haven't automatically loved a dog when I first meet him or her. (I adopt multiple seniors). I've adopted several dogs without meeting them. My experience is, I grow to love them as I get to know them. They come to interact with me more as they get more comfortable and get to know me. Now, there have been a couple of dogs I've taken who I knew were "shy", due to abuse or neglect or hoarding, and wasn't sure how much they'd warm to me, if at all. A couple came to warm to me a lot, one has slightly in her own way- she follows me around, sits or lies near me, but just doesn't want to be within arm's length. I think she'd make a lousy single pet! but as part of my little gang, she's fine.
I'd take the word of that rescuer or shelter or foster home that knows the animal, what they think will happen over time. Any adoptee needs to settle down and get to know you.
Yes, some might take to you (or anyone) right away. But if that doesn't happen right away, it doesn't mean dislike or that the animal won't warm to you. It just takes some time and comfort level.
Beat me to it. No offense (and PS I applaud what you're doing pls don't give up!) but it's somewhat naive to assume a rescue dog is going be all friendly and cuddly/etc right out the gate. Many of them have been neglected or otherwise abused to some extent or other - and dogs are intelligent creatures with complex emotions, much like a person. If a child gets abused, its behavior will often be poor or erratic/etc, esp to include being very leery of strangers. Dogs are no different. Understanding this and having patience is key. For example, my girlfriend adopted one and he was pretty friendly generally, but really overreacted if you acted the slightest bit angry towards him...even if he did something wrong and you firmly (but in no extreme way) went "no" or whatever, he would wince and sort of curl up/"shrink down" ie as if you were going to beat him - which likely is what the sub-human slime that owned him before did. He also would very quickly growl or even snap/try to bite if you tried to grab him or pick him up (petting was fine)...but over time these things faded. It took time to build up that trust, and such things should be expected, not a surprise.

And oh btw it paid off in spades, because unlike many dogs of his kind, he is so appreciative of having an owner that knows how to treat him that he tries SO hard to be good and to please you. He's now better behaved and sweeter than nearly any dog I know or have known.

In other words: no, it's likely not you much if at all. It's the situation they're in. Even if not mistreated, they had the person they loved unconditionally toss them aside (whether for "good" reason or not, they don't get any of that) and now are bouncing around, uncertain what's going on...and dogs are more creatures of habit then even people are, so it's all VERY upsetting.

Again, not to "preach" or anything, but understanding and patience are key. Good luck!!
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Old 03-21-2010, 02:01 PM
 
501 posts, read 1,112,132 times
Reputation: 889
Quote:
Originally Posted by brightdoglover View Post
I wonder if people think a new dog or rescue dog should automatically fawn on them or seek affection, etc. It's not always the case. In fact, I haven't automatically loved a dog when I first meet him or her. (I adopt multiple seniors). I've adopted several dogs without meeting them. My experience is, I grow to love them as I get to know them. They come to interact with me more as they get more comfortable and get to know me. Now, there have been a couple of dogs I've taken who I knew were "shy", due to abuse or neglect or hoarding, and wasn't sure how much they'd warm to me, if at all. A couple came to warm to me a lot, one has slightly in her own way- she follows me around, sits or lies near me, but just doesn't want to be within arm's length. I think she'd make a lousy single pet! but as part of my little gang, she's fine.
I'd take the word of that rescuer or shelter or foster home that knows the animal, what they think will happen over time. Any adoptee needs to settle down and get to know you.
Yes, some might take to you (or anyone) right away. But if that doesn't happen right away, it doesn't mean dislike or that the animal won't warm to you. It just takes some time and comfort level.
I agree with this absolutely. That said, I still have to find even a small signal of a connection of some sort - if a dog totally wasn't able to connect in any way, I would pass and continue searching. My rescue gave us just enough clues that dh knew it was going to work out well (even though he only spent a total of less than 10 minutes in her presence, and I'd spent zero time, just saw a photo, and told him to bring her home, unless when he saw her, he saw Cujo behavior. Dogs that have been down a hard road can be damaged to some degree by their experiences, and there isn't probably any way of telling how deeply it has scarred them, or how they will express it except for letting time pass.

Once we got her home, if we'd been put off by the way she cringed and recoiled due to things that had happened to her along the way, we'd have missed out on who she really was. Loud noises (even just the fan above the stove or closing a cupboard door too hard) sent her running. She preferred to sleep on a dog bed, rather than up on the bed with us (and we've shared a bed with all our dogs over the last 3 decades - but we let her decide her comfort level). We didn't push her at all, and let her come to know us on her own time and terms, and we waited to see how she would adjust.

The rescue described her as a very nice dog, almost "regal" in her mannerisms - very reserved in her human interactions. And that is how she was for the first few months - quiet, polite, very well mannered, smart as a whip, but not a gushy dog.

And here we are 2 years later, with a gushy dog who is exuberant, super playful, an extreme cuddler, and who does a wiggling little dance whenever she is overcome with joy - like when it is time to go out for a walk or jeep ride, or get fed, or get popcorn in the evening with us during tv time, or play fetch, or many times, just because she has trotted into the room where I am working, and she sees me She jumps up on the bed with us every evening, and pulls my arm toward her with her front paws to get some pets before we fall asleep. I wake up with her little back shoved tightly up against my legs. She talks with her tail a ton, thump, thump, thump on the couch until someone comes for a belly rub. And while it might drive some people crazy, she has the most adorable little beagle style howl when she is excited - it comes right after she wiggles out her happy dance. You don't call her regal now, as much as "goofy fun". I am enchanted

Not every person I meet becomes a friend, nor do I want to take home every dog I meet. With humans, there was always some little kind of spark or connection very early on that signaled that we were of a like mind in some way that meant we'd get a kick out of spending time together as friends eventually. I find that is true for me with the dogs I meet as well. Hard to describe what I mean, but it isn't really about "nice vs. not nice", because I know a lot of nice people and dogs who I don't bring into my circle of friends. I've just learned what is more likely to be a good fit for me, and I can pretty much sense if it is there or not now, even though it doesn't come all lit up with neon signs

Last edited by sugarsugar; 03-21-2010 at 02:09 PM..
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Old 03-21-2010, 02:01 PM
 
Location: Chicago, IL
1,300 posts, read 3,093,100 times
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I think you might be better off going on petfinder.com or a rescue website. When dogs are at an adoption event, it's so overwhelming, there's so much going on. Their foster brothers/sisters are there to play with and distract them... you could look into breeds, choose a breed of dog that fits your lifestyle and matches well and explore their local rescue website, talk to foster parents about the temperament of a dog you're interested in and then meet the dog etc. Or you could do the same thing on petfinder. There are rescue dogs that are extremely friendly--they exist! And you'd have an easier time finding one going through a golden retriever rescue or lab rescue or finding a breed that is more likely to be super-friendly. Or if you'd rather adopt a mutt (I have one and he's awesome!) I would use petfinder.

Don't put so much pressure on yourselves! This should be a fun thing! Another really good way to choose is find a shelter that you like and volunteer there. You walk the dogs and have fun with them and if there's one in particular that you really love, then great! But if not then go back next week. It's really a win-win; the dogs get some play time and you get to hang out with them and have fun and also volunteering is so rewarding! Don't put a time constraint on it and don't worry about it so much, just go in with the attitude that you want to help and see what happens.
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