I would like to introduce you to Shayna a 6.5 kilo adorable Cockapoo who is 2.5yrs old. Shayna came to us from a shelter in Quebec where she had been abandoned. It was obvious upon meeting her that she had been overbred and undersocialized. Shayna displayed many of the traits of a puppy mill dog —initially shy, nervous,fearful and skittish. But her time in a loving foster home has turned this sweet dog around and she is now ready for her forever home.
Her first morning with me, she did one short woof in her kennel to let me know she was there. It took several minutes of coaxing to get her out of her kennel, leashed and out the front door for a pee. I don’t think Shayna had ever been on a leash before and she kept going in circles around me, afraid to venture more than a foot or 2 from me. On day 2 I simply left her kennel door open and within a minute or two she came out on her own. Shayna was my shadow for the first week, never letting me out of her sight. I was very surprised that Shayna was confident enough to go off property for our walks on our second day together. By the end of the first week she was walking easily on leash, venturing further afield and enjoying sniffing new smells. Her confidence was growing steadily. At first she was quite fearful when meeting people and dogs on our walks and would hide behind me. I waited for her to show me she was ready. Shayna was very tentative on her first encounters and would touch noses with a dog and skitter back to me. She reacted the same way with people for the first two weeks. Week 3 we met up with a gentle 90 pound boxer and Shayna walked right up to him, touched noses and smelled his legs for a little bit and then came back to me and looked up as if to say “Wasn’t I brave?”. A definite breakthrough in her confidence level. Recently I introduced her to a neighbour’s cat who was as big as Shayna-no problem went right up nose to nose and sniffed all around his body.
Neighbours have commented on how happy a dog she is on walks now—tail up high and constantly wagging. She has lots of energy and enjoys our longer cool morning walks. Although still tentative with new people she has no problem going up to dogs she’s already met and greeting them. Shayna does get nervous when there are several people in a group. She prefers to have people and dogs walking beside or in front of her rather than behind her. Shayna loves her walks which we do 4 times a day for a total of 4.5-5 km daily. She likes to play a game with me when it’s time for a walk. The moment she sees the leash in my hand she scoots over to her bed and sits there primly waiting for me to come and hook her up. We then go happily outside. When the weather hasn’t been too hot or wet Shayna enjoys being on her tether in the backyard while I do my gardening.
As is typical with mill dogs Shayna refused to eat for her first 2 and a half days with me. I was instructed to put her kibble into her kennel, her safe place. Major excitement when on her third night with me I was awakened at midnight to the sound of crunching kibble. She still eats in her kennel occasionally nibbling a bit during the day but mostly at night when she goes to bed. It took a long time for Shayna to accept a treat. She would try to bury them in a blanket or in the corner of one of her beds. When she required post spay pills I put it inside a ball of wet food in my hand surrounded by kibble and she ate it willingly. When Shayna was at the vet’s for her check up, needles and spaying it was noted that she had some tartar buildup and would require dental scaling in the next year or two. This is something that her forever family will need to monitor and be prepared to take on should she need a dental in the coming years. Dentals are a common need in smaller dogs so this isn’t anything out of the usual. Having her chew on sturdy chew toys or antlers etc will help with this. She has no interest in dental sticks as yet.
In the house Shayna does not like the noise made by a hair dryer or vacuum and will quickly leave the room. Shayna craves cuddling, stroking, petting. She will contentedly spend an hour curled up quietly in my lap while I read or watch tv. She adores tummy rubs and will often lie down and lift up her back leg as you walk by, inviting you to rub her. As her comfort level and confidence have grown Shayna lets me know by gently batting my hand or leg to say she wants attention. She now quite happily will curl up on one of her beds if I’m busy and doesn’t need to be in the same room.
Shayna is not food motivated and training is by praise. She will come on leash and sit. Wait or stay is still a work in progress. She also has no idea what to do with a toy although I spend time each day trying. She does like to play chase with me but quickly ends it by going to her bed and requesting a tummy rub. Shayna enjoys gentle wrestling. Everything about this dog is gentle and delicate. Shayna’s body language is so easy to read. On walks if her tail goes down a bit but still wagging it’s okay to approach a person or dog but when it goes down fully it’s time to take her away from the situation. In the house she will wiggle her whole body in excitement to let you know she wants you to play with her. She has been so excited on two occasions that she did an accidental small piddle. I do yoga practice each morning after our walk and Shayna makes it a hilarious challenge. The minute I lie down she immediately comes over and snuggles into my face and chest. When I gently push her away she curls up by my side. When on my hands and knees she runs under me and rubs her back on my tummy. These antics have now shortened to only 5 minutes and then she goes to her bed and curls up and watches me.
Recently when I had 2 friends she knew over for the afternoon, Shayna greeted them at the door but when they sat down in chairs she and I shared she barked at both of them. I think she was telling them this was her space. No problem when I plopped her in one friend’s lap and she stayed there for an hour being petted. With the exception of her first morning woof Shayna has never barked. She’s a very quiet dog. She goes willingly into her kennel and doesn’t make a sound all night. She’s slept through fireworks and a loud thunderstorm that woke me up. Shayna is a pure delight. She could easily make her new family her love/cuddle slaves. Shayna would be very easy to spoil because she’s so sweet natured. I would recommend that her new home be one with adults only, or with gentle teens. Lots of noise and sudden movements still startle Shayna. She would be fine with a dog savvy cat and possibly another gentle dog who didn’t mind her hogging most of the attention and cuddles. Shayna has made great strides in the month she’s been with me but will require firm gentle guidance to help her gain full confidence. Shayna is a very intelligent little girl who wants to please. It’s been a joy watching her development and the emerging of the teasing mischievous side of her nature.