Shootin' the Breeze

and random targets

Canine Psychotherapy

This is yet another true story about our adventures with Beau, our Yellow Lab who came from a shelter.  I do not want our woes to discourage others from adopting pets from animal shelters.  However, I recommend inquiring about why the animal was surrendered.

We have adopted three dogs from shelters –  Beau, Sadie and Rover.  Each had a different reason for being there.  We know why Sadie and Rover were there.  I described Sadie’s sad background in Sadie’s Tale.  Rover showed up on our deck during the wildfires and we took him to the Humane Society so his owners could claim him.  When no one did, we adopted him.  Both Rover and Sadie turned out to be wonderful pets.  Beau?  Not so much.

I said to my wife, Sugar, last night, after Beau committed yet another crime, “Have you ever had such a bad dog?”  She did not hesitate to say “No.”  You might think that she would take a few moments to reminisce about dogs from her childhood and decades since, analyzing the data collected from a lifetime as an animal lover.  It took one brief second for her to conclude that the answer to my question is clearly “No.”

What about Tanner?  Tanner was a wolf hybrid shepherd mix with a penchant for taking off.  But, no, he was not as much trouble as Beau.

I think the difference is that with the various dog personalities we have encountered and for the most part enjoyed, we were not victims of any misbehavior.  If Rover chased rabbits as his chief fault, he was not bothering me.  If Sadie greedily tried to eat Max’s food, it was not my food.  With Beau, we are the victims of his criminal thefts.  With Beau, it is my food, etc.

Some of you read my blog about my accidental discovery that Beau’s original owner might actually be in prison and that is why Beau was surrendered.  I kidded about Beau’s upbringing in a criminal home.  Many truths are said in jest.

I think he was neglected and had to entertain himself in a small enclosure.  I say that because when we got Beau, he had chewed off the hair on his front paws.  Another symptom was that he would go into a small shower, pushing back the curtain and sitting in the dark space where there are no windows.  That might indicate being in a small space was familiar to him.  A big ranch with room to run was not familiar.  However, he has adjusted to the ranch.  He helps me feed the horses.  He was very excited to discover the river.   I think he likes it here.

After the shower occupation, I decided that he might feel more at home in a crate, so for two months he has been put into a crate at night.  (During the day he can play outside, ride with us in the truck, or be in the house with us.)  He collected his treasures and keeps them in there.  At bedtime, Beau would go right into the crate.  Eagerly even.  Until yesterday.

In the early morning hours, I let the dogs out to go potty.  They presumably do that.  They return to the back door and I let them in.  Sadie goes back to her sofa and Beau goes back into his crate.  I go back to bed.  For the last two morning excursions, Beau did not want to go back into his crate.  Instead, he slyly grabbed a bone from inside and quickly left the room.  He jumped onto Sadie’s sofa.  Both days.  So, as a permissive owner, I allowed it.  As a distrustful owner, I hooked a leash onto his collar and tied it to the leg of a heavy aspen table.

So far so good.  It is like a child graduating from a baby crib to a big boy bed.

Maybe Beau is going to fit in after all.Image


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2 thoughts on “Canine Psychotherapy

  1. Great story on Beau!!!! You guys are doing a good thing for Him.. I just hope it’s a good thing for yawl!!! LOL Take Care and God Bless 🙂 Kenny T

  2. Thanks, Kenny. Somebody did not want Beau. Often I can understand why. To pat ourselves on our backs, Sugar and I are pretty patient and have had success training dogs and horses in the past. We try to see things from their viewpoints. We want them to see a connection between behavior and reward or punishment.

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