Getting to know Rainer better

This soulful-eyed boy survived his first grooming experience on Tuesday. It didn’t go so well, but we didn’t have to suffer with him.

Rainer, post bath

We took him to a local groomer (who also has self-serve grooming stations), a local saint, really. He apparently fought her with everything: brushing, shampooing, rinsing, nail clipping, etc. After an hour, she was worn out and he was only about half-bathed. She said she didn’t think this dog had ever been brushed or bathed in his entire life. I believe it!

But he looked SO much better afterward! See:

Rainer, post bath

He smells like a rose blossom now.

Rainer, post bath

Relations with Pyrrha are improving, although they can still be a bit dicey. I’m realizing Pyrrha is also at fault here: She is a HUGE diva!

Calming signals

Yesterday, I turned my back on them for a second in the sunroom, and Pyrrha started screaming. I jumped out of my skin! But I turn and look, and Rainer is not even touching her. Who knows what happened? Maybe he shot her a dirty look, and she freaked out? Ugh. What a queenie.

How do you teach a dog not to overreact to other dogs? Or, more accurately, how do you teach a dog not to be such a drama queen??

Rainer on guard

It’s really heartwarming to note how much his acclimating to us and to our lifestyle. The first few days, he wouldn’t come inside at all; we’d have to go out, catch him, and lasso him indoors. Now? I open the back door and call for him, and guess who comes running?

Stepping pretty

This guy!

Fostering shy dogs is an extra challenge, but I also think it’s more palpably rewarding than fostering “normal,” well-adapted dogs. Shy dogs make so much progress! Yes, it is often small, subtle progress, but it is still so cheering to observe it, to see formerly terrified dogs become able to let their tongue hang out with glee, to approach people for affection, to come running when called. Nothing quite like that feeling.

We are enjoying our time with this gentle boy. Tomorrow night, I’m taking him to a training class called “Fearful Dogs: Rescue Remedies,” a short, one-time session just for shy rescues. We’ll see how he does!

If you are interested in adopting Rainer, fill out an application at Southeast German Shepherd Rescue!

7 thoughts on “Getting to know Rainer better

  1. I must say Rainer does look very handsome after his grooming. I’m sure you’ll be teaching him to associate yummy treats with a brush so the next time goes easier.

    I laughed to hear that Pyrrha is a diva. Honey did some of that when she was a puppy. We had a neighbor’s Golden Retriever over for some playtime/socialization. Every time he got a little rough for her she’d scream bloody murder.

    I wondered if he was too big and boisterous for her so we held Riley back and watched to see if Honey ran away or toward him. She ran right toward him.

    Over time, she became less hysterical in her reactions.

    She was trying to say he was making her uncomfortable the best way she knew how. But it wasn’t uncomfortable enough that she wanted him to go home.

    Pyrrha is probably just talking to Rainer too. And who knows what signals he’s sending out that causes her reaction?

    1. Thanks! Yes, we are trying to teach him that grooming is FUN and equals TREATS!

      Thanks for your input, too; good to know that Pyrrha isn’t the only one to overreact! I think you’re right. She herself is still learning how to interact with other dogs, and sometimes she still does it inappropriately!

  2. Looks so nice, none of my dogs have ever been to a groomer!

    We have a drama queen here too. Difficult as it may be we just try to ignore her behavior. Again, it’s different with each dog. By now I know who needs to go on meet & greets and who can just stay home. Always an adventure šŸ˜‰

  3. Drama Queens? you all need to meet more Beagles & hounds – Oh, My, Dog! One let out horrible howls just seeing the nail clipper – and the others zoomed to his support. Yesterday, Justus had blood drawn for his yearly heart-worm treatment; he bawled into the face of the vet. Get over it, Pyrrha….you survived and you will thrive.

  4. Drama Queens? I live with four of them, and yes, the Black Tornado counts! If you find out the secret, please share it with me! lol

    Rainer looks great after his grooming session! šŸ™‚

  5. I agree that it’s more rewarding to foster the more “challenging” dogs. Although, I tend to foster the dogs that are overall pretty easy šŸ™‚ I love these photos. My husband and I love shepherds, and I’m sure we’ll have one at some point.

  6. Not sure how long you’ve had Rainer, but you will be amazed at how well he does after his first couple of weeks. Several of his ‘kind’ have darkened our doorway and all have been reached, many happily rehomed. The trick is, don’t over think it (though I am currently doing just that with a feral) and just relax. All will be swell!

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