Monday, January 3, 2011

The Buddy System and other tips for Socializing your rescued Cairn

Written by Reggie and Gemma's Adoptive Mom

Reggie is the black brindle and Gemma is the red wheaten cairn

When we got Reggie, he was a recluse. He lived under the coffee table and didn't want to do much of anything except for sleep and eat. Toys were lost on him and walks were full of fear and uncertainty. One day, out of curiosity, I decided to bring him to the local dog park. I didn't expect much and wasn't planning on staying long. You can imagine my surprise when as soon as Reggie hit the ground, it was as if someone had flipped a switch. His tail was up and wagging, he was running around with the other dogs, and he had a huge, doggy grin on his face. I couldn't believe it! We ended up staying for a few hours because I didn't have the heart to take him home.

It has been absolutely crucial to Reggie's progress that he gets regular interaction with other dogs. Whether it's at a dog park or in a friend's back yard, socializing your dog is incredibly important in building confidence and it building a relationship with you. There are certain things that, try as we may, human beings just cannot accomplish in the dog world. Other (well-behaved) dogs can teach your dog to be brave, to be friendly, to trust in their owners and to play!

We ended up taking this philosophy to another extreme when we adopted our Gemma. Since living with another Cairn, Reggie is a new man! He picks up toys and chews bones, he zooms around the living room, and he approaches our guests like a little gentleman when they come over. If you don't know what else to do with a Cairn that just can't come out of his or her shell, try putting your trust in other dogs. Join a local puppy class, find out about dog-friendly parks and beaches, or organize a play-group with other dog owners. For tips on how to safely socialize your dog, you can visit this website which we found to be very helpful.

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