BHRR’s Nimbus says Gwennie is home!

He is the 14 month old Giant Schnauzer that has a bite history that we took in July 25th.

He very much has lacked boundaries, manners and has felt that he can rule the world. On the flip side, he also did not have his own needs/wants met as they should have been.

From the moment I first brought him home, not once but twice, he has lifted his leg upon first meeting Sean to urinate on him.

He has jumped, mouthed, has demonstrated serious intent to bite – especially where his collar is concerned. He is extremely sensitive/reactive to his collar/neck being touched.

We do not attempt to touch his food or toys at the present, items that he only gets when he is in his crate or in the one fenced in yard or in a room by himself to enjoy. We are a long way off from sharing water bowls too with the other dogs.

When he first arrived, he was wearing a muzzle that his previous O.’s had put upon him – the man in particular was highly fearful of him. We managed to swap out the collar he was wearing to a martingale – as his previous loop collar was ill fitting and he is a big flight risk – and then took the muzzle off.

He has been doing well with his crate training – yet, is reactive in any situation he feels cornered.

He has proven to be excellent with the dogs he has been integrated with to date – BHRR’s Fred – who has his own bite history prior to coming to BHRR; BHRR’s Walter and my two Wolfies, Torin plus Brogan. He has zero issues with BHRR’s Caramel; yet, as always Mr. Caramel feels threatened and worried about any new dog and thinks they may eat him so, he barks at Mr. Nimbus…so, baby steps. Mr. Nimbus was also excellent with BHRR’s Valour may that sweet soul RIP and was the first one to get her to do a bit of a play bounce.

He is riddled with anxiety and has been torn between wanting to hurt me and wanting desperately to trust me and have me take care of him. This picture demonstrates that I am very slowly getting through to him as he was so happy to see me!

Before anyone steps up to impart their own opinions; I have not just a Masters yet a PhD in Psy(behaviour and development) and for many dogs; BHRR is the end of the road. If it were not for us; many a dog would have been euthanised instead of living great quality filled lives……

I am not going to rush out to have him put to sleep due to his behaviour – which is what his breeder wanted his O.’s to do as the breeder refused to take him back, plus the one O. was open to doing. We know many a group wanted him due to his breed; yet, many a group would not have been prepared, experienced, knowledgeable to manage him.

Behaviour is NOT changed; it is modified to be the best behaviour that it can be. Due to his resource issues, he has been allowed to rule his previous home and there was a set up for failure when the one O., who was already fearful of him; attempted to take something away and Mr. Nimbus snapped, made a connection with the O. While the previous O. did not need sutures/staples; he did go on both oral and IV antibiotics.

We take in the special needs, that is our focus – be it medical and/or behavioural and there is no timeline for these often lifetime labour of loves.

He has been moved to our Haven program – will he be moved back; who knows and it does not matter. BHRR has never been about adopting dogs…we have always been about assisting the next one in need of our highly specialised programs and if, said dog could be placed up for adoption, fine; yet, our Haven program is a massive part of what we do.

There is no rush, we are not desperate and though, originally Mr. Nimbus(what we are calling him) developed an early connection to Sean; it is now myself that he is very slowly developing a relationship with.

One small step at a time to get him to realise that trust and respect work both ways; that there shall be rules – we are a positive balanced approached program – that we will be clear and consise in our communication so that there is not any confusion with what we are asking of him.

There shall be structure, consistency, stability, obedience, love, patience and understanding and right now, he is figuring myself out and I am still learning about him.

We do not operate or rule with fear….he is realising that….we do not use prongs, chokes or shock/e-collars. Almost 30 years into working with animals – with knowledge, experience, formal education – 14 years post secondary let alone all of the continued CE.

I am beginning to get genuine nubby tail wags. I am getting more relaxed body expression. I am getting proper eye contact now. I have not been rushed or lunged at in days and he plus I are coming to an understanding…..there are compromises on both sides on some things as we work towards moving from the small picture to the bigger picture and that there shall not not be any compromises on others.

He is learning that his non verbal and verbal cues are being read and listened to. He is learning boundaries. He is learning praise and treats and that his tolerance/threshold is going to be listened too.

We have so much time to work on in expanding appropriate displays of behaviour and for the present, it is Gwennie Dog Boot camp….seeing how happy he was to see me when I arrived home today; small yet, also huge progress is being made…..Setting up for success!