Wednesday, February 20

Meeting Leon

Meet Leon!
This is Leon, he is a lovely older dog who has spent a very long time in rescue. He has been re-homed before but has returned for reasons beyond his control, such as relationship breakdowns between his owners.  He's had more than his fair share of bad luck over the years!

He's a simple pooch who wants for very little from life, just a couple of walks during the day and then relax with the family in the evening. Of course, he could also be so much more too! He has a calm disposition which makes him very easy to train, plus he really loves positive reward based games and training, meaning he has great potential in many areas.

Here is an account from Sue, a valued volunteer at North Clwyd Animal Rescue....

"I have taken Leon home on several occasions and although he's not so keen on the car (it could be my driving) once he's in the house he's fantastic, clean through the night without any noise. He know's he's not allowed upstairs and after his first attempt he hasn't even tried again. He's really good on and off the lead and his recall is very good.

I think his size may put people off but he is very affectionate and would make a really loyal and loving dog once you get to know the real Leon!"

Leon has a few things going against him as a rescue dog, firstly he has a bit of Staffie in him which appears to put off some would be adopters (typically folks influenced by media myths and sensationalism), also brindle dogs with dark faces generally have little interest shown in them whilst at rescue centres. But Leon's biggest hurdle to getting adopted is his initial distrust of strangers. At some point during his life he's learnt that strangers approaching him and trying to touch him is a bad thing, and of course being a rescue dog potential adopters are viewed at first as strangers.  The sad fact is Leon only needs a very short time to build up trust in people, I managed it in a 10 minute walk! From this point on he's been very comfortable with me. It is not uncommon for would be adopters to be looking for an 'instant connection' with a dog which rules out introducing Leon to them.
So Leon has a few more hurdles to jump than most before he gets some serious interest in him, but sometimes the best and most rewarding relationships need a bit of work to get them started!
As a canine behaviourist I'll always advise spending as much time as possible, over a few visits if necessary, to really get to know your family's potential companion.

Getting to know Leon....

In order to get to know Leon, all it takes to earn his trust is to show him you can show him respect by simply in-turn respecting his personal space (just as you would meeting new people!).  Take a walk with Leon, (ignore him) and just let him come with you, don't try to force yourself on him by trying to stroke him, don't try to force him to engage with you by trying to get him to respond to your voice, just simply walk.  After maybe 20 minutes of calm walking, respecting Leon's personal space, take a seat and see if Leon wants to come and meet you. If he comes up to sniff you, let him, once he's finished sniffing, get up and walk some more. Next time you stop Leon will probably try to engage you and rub against you and it is then you can start to stroke him a little, then, get up and walk some more. Once Leon is comfortable accepting a fuss you will see the sweet, obedient, lovable dog Leon really is. (Of course, this whole process can be helped along by offering him a few good treats for showing interest in you or relaxing around you).

He also struggles with some pushy dogs (like so many other dogs do), he usually gives them a bark or two telling them to calm down or back off, but this would be an easy problem to work through once he is in a home. He is so quick to learn and responsive this issue could be tackled in several ways (one simple way can be seen in his video).  He just wants to know he's safe, that you can keep him safe when scary dogs are around, so he can then relax and just be a dog.

Check out Leon's video...

here is his photo profile -

here is his NCAR portfolio -

So come up to NCAR and take him for a walk! Even if you have no intention of adopting him you could take him for a walk and help show him that strangers aren't all bad and really they are pretty good! This would not only get the lad out into the countryside but spending quality time exploring with strangers will vastly help his progress!
For any help regarding Leon contact me on

This lad just needs a chance, there must be a home and family out there for him!

Adam - canine behaviourist.