Behaviour case study: Rover

Rover is a young mastiff cross who was found by the dog warden - he was a stray and had been hit by a car. The dog warden pulled him out of his van using a pole - a loop and rigid stick arrangement which slips around a dog's neck and holds the dog well away from the person manoevering it. It is not something we like to use if possible, but we were informed that he was a dangerous dog and perhaps we should just put him to sleep. With his bloodshot eye and thick choke chain lead he certainly looked the part.

Head Behaviourist Steve took over to take Rover to a kennel block to allow him to calm down. Although Rover was struggling, barking and snarling, Steve saw that his body language showed he was scared and wanted to keep away from everyone, and decided to spend time with him before his assessment. 

 

Less than a week later, Rover seemed more relaxed so the next step was to take the horrible choke chain off and replace it with a collar. During some relaxed playtime in one of the paddocks, Steve gradually got him used to being touched, and to having the feel of the new collar on his neck by just gently laying it on his neck when Rover chose to come close. After 20 minutes not only was the collar exchange complete, but Rover was leaning into Steve for a fuss! 

Ready for a home

Four weeks later, and with regular work from both the behaviour and animal carer teams, and Rover was ready to look for a home. He had blossomed into a funny and engaging young lad who loves to learn. He mixes well with other dogs and loves cuddles and fuss. His original owner has never come forward to claim him. 

Rover was adopted in March 2013.