Viper came to us incredibly scared and traumatised, he was part of a clan of 5 Jack Russel's removed from their home, due to non- compliant owners, not prepared to do the right thing by their pets. They were so scared at the pound that they hid under their beds and would only come out to growl and bark at anyone who went into their space.
Even though I fed them and cleaned them every day they would not have a bar of me.
For Viper though the real challenge came when we decided to give them a chance and bring them home. With the Rangers help we tried and failed to catch three of them, one was so bad that no amount of coaching and support helped us catch her. Two we were able to catch with gloves. They bit through the gloves but weren't too bad and when they got away from the pound environment and the other dogs their stress was significantly reduced and they were able to go straight into foster homes and happily permanent homes soon after. But Viper Oh boy poor Viper, we cant show the pictures of us picking him up, I had to go back the next day with a shelter volunteer and have a second go at collecting Viper. His pictures would break your heart, they break my heart. The only way to get the little man out was to loop the lead around his neck and back him into a pet pack. That was no where near as simple as it sounds.
Viper went to his first foster home and spent the night out of the box and howling, His foster mother was under strict instructions to try and help him find happiness and to coax him into a position of trust, as close as she got in two weeks was that when it thundered he would come inside and stay in the room with her. He did improve when she took on three little puppies ad gave him someone to be around. He stopped his howling then.
When Foster Mum number one needed to go away Jo stepped up, the first job was to catch him. It is hard enough to do this when he was in a small run, now he was loose and had the whole yard to escape into. Happily though Jo was able to help and they eventually caught him, Jo was bitten twice in the process. Some might think this is a good place to stop, but we wanted to see if we could turn his little life around, after all we managed to help the rest of the clan.
So Jo took on Viper with the rest of her well socialised dog pack, left a lead on him that he couldn't chew through and like FM1 waited for him to come to her. Jo is definitely tougher than FM1 and was able to wait him out, but the move and the obvious lack of pressure from both Foster Mums was enough to get him on track. His trust elevated, he was able to socialise. A nice big thunder storm sealed the deal and he was sitting in Jo's lap waiting out the storm almost by accident. A few short weeks later Viper was visiting in the hospice and sleeping over night with people he'd only just met, not only was he nice to his new friends he was social and greeted the nurses and other visitors in the ward.
Our training methods are based on the teaching of Craig A Murray based in Queensland but an international trainer who achieves amazing things with his dogs and his training. While we may have some natural ability I personally owe my confidence and my understanding of behaviour to their tuition and support. I'm extremely grateful for their help. I believe because of the way we manage our dogs we re-home great dogs, mediocre dogs and down right naughty dogs with success. We do not however always mark our success, no body sees the work that goes into the dogs not barking or fighting or other behaviours which are detrimental to being re-homed. Our classes are about helping provide people with support when they rescue and to achieve great results for dogs that have been pre-owned.
We at PAWS Darwin are happy to announce that works have started on our adventure garden. Even though our area is small we are putting in a play garden for the rescue dogs. Complete with tunnel water pools and sandpit Zoe's garden will be under shade making the whole space cooler and more inviting.
We are thankful to the Community Corrections team Paradise gardens and Bunnings for their help. Thank you.