Friday, May 13, 2016

The Slow Road to Success: The Cairn and the Hare

Slow and Steady wins the race every time!

Every Rescued Cairn
Comes with a Warning!

IMPORTANT!  Please take it slow with your New Cairn! It is especially crucial that you follow the advice to go ***VERY SLOWLY*** with your New Cairn if he or she is a Puppy Mill Survivor.  Protecting your New Cairn from too much stimulation, too many new people, places, sights, and sounds, is critically important to assure a Successful Adoption.

You cannot go too slowly...

We are always thrilled when a home has decided to open their heart to a Rescued Cairn, and our Matchmakers and Post Adoption Coordinators give great advice to make the integration of every Cairn into a new family as easy and stress-free as possible.  The Col. Potter Blog posts tips for everything you could imagine – just search “training tips” in the Upper Left corner of the CP Blog and you’ll find pages of results!

But the one tip that stands above them all is:

Please take it Slow with your New Cairn! 

Hand in hand with this is the admonition to be sure to establish your position as the Benevolent Alpha from day one.  Be a good leader!  Think ahead and visualize how you want to manage the integration of your new Cairn, and then implement your plan with calm assurance. 

For the first two weeks minimum, you should have a drag lead attached to your New Cairn’s harness, inside your home and outside, in a securely fenced area.  A drag lead gives you power (Alpha) and helps you avoid situations where you ask for a behavior but have no way to ensure that you can make it happen without asking a 2nd time (which you should never do!).  “Come!” is a great example.  In the beginning it is really best to calmly step on the lead, pick it up, and then say, “Come!” where you can easily reel the dog in, ready to give a nice treat as soon as the action has been achieved.

Take it Easy and You’ll Get it Right!

We recommend that you not take the new dog into a lot of new situations right at first.  Many mistakes are made because the new adoptive home is so excited about their dog that they want to share their new little one with all their friends and family.  Give your New Cairn time to adjust to you, your immediate family, and your home before taking him out to visit friends or relatives.  If your friends and family cannot wait to meet your new family member, please introduce them to him or her slowly and allow time to adjust and welcome each member one at a time.  A large number of unfamiliar humans descending on a newly adopted Cairn has the potential to be overwhelming and can cause them to react in a negative way. 

You cannot go too slowly...  but you can move too quickly by exposing your new adoptee to too many new people, places, sights, sounds and smells at first.  Be sure to use the crate wisely to give your new Cairn time to relax a few times each day, always making it a gentle, positive experience going in and coming back out.  Little bits of cheese in your hand help in any crating exercise, and it will reinforce the absolute goodness of your hands!

Did you already go too fast?  Time to hit the Reset button!

Calm everything down and start over - from the beginning - and do not rush to get to the next level.  Follow your guidelines, step by step, and you will find your relationship with your new Cairn will be much improved.

Slow and steady wins the race!

"The Tortoise and the Hare" from an edition of Aesop's Fables illustrated by Arthur Rackham, 1912

The Tortoise and the Hare
an Aesop Fable

One day a hare was bragging about how fast he could run.  He bragged and bragged and even laughed at the tortoise, who was so slow.  The tortoise stretched out his long neck and challenged the hare to a race, which, of course, made the hare laugh.

"My, my, what a joke!" thought the hare.  "A race, indeed, a race. Oh! What fun! My, my!  A race, of course, Mr. Tortoise, we shall race!" said the hare.

The forest animals met and mapped out the course.  The race begun, and the hare, being such a swift runner, soon left the tortoise far behind.  About halfway through the course, it occurred to the hare that he had plenty of time to beat the slow trodden tortoise.

"Oh, my!" thought the hare, "I have plenty of time to play in the meadow here."  And so he did.  After the hare finished playing, he decided that he had time to take a little nap.  "I have plenty of time to beat that tortoise," he thought.  And he cuddle up against a tree and dozed.

The tortoise, in the meantime, continued to plod on, albeit, it ever so slowly.  He never stopped, but took one good step after another.

The hare finally woke from his nap.  "Time to get going," he thought.  And off he went, faster than he had ever run before!  He dashed as quickly as anyone ever could up to the finish line, where he met the tortoise, who was patiently awaiting his arrival.

Slow and steady wins the race!

Rescuing one Cairn will not change the world, 
but it will surely change the world for that one Rescued Cairn


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