Tag Archives: shy dogs

Working with Martie

Working with dogs who have experienced low, poor or no socialization with humans is probably my favorite kind of work I do with the SPCA.  Mostly, I do this kind of volunteer work in my home as a behavior foster, but I also work with some of these kinds of dogs in the shelter as well.

This week I worked with Martie, a five month old Shepherd mix.


When I met Martie, she wouldn’t move off of her dog bed in her kennel.  My job that evening was to introduce her to the leash.  Other volunteers and staff had worked with her, so I wasn’t starting from scratch.  But I still gave her space to get to know me and get comfortable with me.

A staff member helped me get her into one of the indoor “getting acquainted” rooms.  I left a leash on her and let her choose where she wanted to go, which ended up being a corner of the room, right next to a couch.  She would take a step for a treat, but then go right back into the corner.  I read to her for a little bit, to get her used to my voice.

Then, using the leash, I prodded her gently.  When she came near to me, I petted her and found out that she has a spot right in front of her left ear that she particularly likes getting scratched.  When I moved a step away, she followed for more petting.

Eventually, she walked on the leash for me.  We even went outside.  However, she scared very easily, and if I stopped paying attention, she would freak out.

Part of me hopes that she’s there next week so that I can work with her again.  It’s harder to build up a reputation with a dog while they are at the shelter.  I get to spend more time with the dog when they are in my home.  But working with the dogs at the shelter has its benefits too.

There, it’s more of a team effort to work with these dogs.  We build off the work of the last volunteer or staff member that worked with them.  And I know that even after I leave for the week, the dogs will continue to receive love, support, and trust from many people after me, ultimately from their loving family who adopts them.


Speaking of adoption, Rowdy went home with his forever family this week!  I’m so happy for him.  I know that the family will receive so much love from that pup.  He really is such a good dog.  I’m so glad I get to be a part of a program that likes to deal in happy endings.  I look forward to seeing Martie find her happy ending soon as well.

Have you ever encountered a shy or poorly socialized dog?

An Afternoon at the SPCA

Since my September was incredibly busy, I didn’t get to foster or go to the SPCA very much at all.  So, this past Monday I was extremely happy to be working with the dogs at the shelter!  Since I’m a behavior volunteer, I usually work with the more challenging cases, but since I came in at the end of the day, I also walk the other dogs right after they have had their dinner.  Since I hadn’t been in for a while, I thought I would work up to some of the more challenging cases.


One of the first dogs I walked was Tucker.  This sweetie was friendly and playful.  He zigged and zagged all over the garden.  He was super cute and super sweet.  He gave me kisses on my hands both before I put on his leash and after, I guess to say thank you.


This is Sailor.  He was SO difficult to get a photographed.  He just didn’t want to sit still, unless I was petting him with both hands!  His fur felt like teddy bear fur.  It was super soft.  He was labeled as a socialization case, but whoever has been working with him these last few weeks has done an excellent job!


And then there was Susie Q.  She was SUPER shy and scared.  She let me leash her up, and then stayed right by my side the entire walk.  She wasn’t interested in exploring or anything.  We sat in the garden and chatted a bit.  She would lean her head against my leg (and this was the best picture I got of her, unfortunately.  She wasn’t much for sitting still either).

I walked other dogs, but these three really stood out to me.  I can’t wait to go back next week and volunteer again!

Have you ever worked at a shelter?  Did any dogs steal your heart?