Paws, then play
In an ideal world, every dog would spend time during the puppy
stages in play. They would play with other puppies, play and
learn from mature dogs as well as spend time playing with
humans. They would have lots of toys to play with and learn
However, our world is not ideal.
First time foster parents are sometimes shocked that their newly
rescued dog has no interest in play, or just looks at toys as
And that is when we remind the foster parents that their newly
rescued dog has had little opportunity to spend time on play.
Each rescue dog arrives with his/her own story. The fortunate
ones arrive healthy, happy and well adjusted. Others arrive
hurting and scared. The one aspect they have in common
is that most of their efforts prior to rescue have been spent on
survival. When you are searching for food and shelter, extra
energy is not expended on play.
Some of these rescue dogs have had limited positive human
contact and have never lived in a home. They are not familiar
with stairs, vacuum cleaners or dishwashers. They have no
frame of reference of what is "normal" in a domestic
With the use of positive, gentle and kind training, rescue dogs
get used to all of these new household goings on. With the
same approach, they will get used to the presence and encouragement
When they reach for a toy, when they give you a play bow or when
they wag their tail in joy for the first time - there is nothing
more rewarding than seeing the weight of survival lift off the
shoulders of a rescue dog.