Tony Knight Dog Listener

Just A Little Patience (Yeah, Yeah, Yeah)

· 652 words · about 3 minutes

How patience turned a hellhound into a perfect pooch…

Hi, welcome to the first of my website blogs. I know it’s taken me ages to get around to doing them but as the saying goes, better late than never… I guess that the subject for my first blog is apt in this case. Patience is indeed a virtue when it comes to working with some dogs, especially if they have had a bad time of it in the past.

You may have already read some posts about Nono – the stray dog who was rescued from the streets of a town near where I live on France – at the beginning of 2016. Maybe you have even seen one or more of the 3 films I have put together about his rehabilitation. If not, let me set the scene…

Capdenac, Southern France – a magnificent, black dog has been living rough around the town for 3 months. In late December the winter weather starts to kick in and temperatures plummet at night. A local rescue organisation decides to save our hero from an icy fate. However, to say Nono (named as he was rescued around Christmas (Noel in French)) didn’t like people is like saying that the Atlantic ocean is on the moist side (hands up who hates that word…!). In fact, nobody could get anywhere near him – he had to be tranquilized to catch him. Even then, he managed to nip some volunteers in his drugged state.

At this point in the story we introduce Regine, one of the volunteers whom our hero nipped. I had previously helped with her own dogs years before. She was bitten – then smitten – by this impressive beast. She decided to see if she could help him to start to trust her so she asked for my advice with this unknown quantity.

“Take your time!”

Have you ever tried to shower when you are in a hurry? Have you noticed that you drop the soap far more often than usual? Trying to rush usually means that you actually take more time. If you use a bit of patience, you can actually make more progress (and not hit you head on the tap). The same idea goes for working with some dogs. They may have had a traumatic experience and time is a great ally in our desire to help them.

I visited her a few times to make sure that she was taking each step one at a time. She would stop when she felt she had made a tiny bit of progress. If the lessons are short but sweet, a dog doesn’t even have time to get too distressed or panicked. Rather than expect Nono to understand her good intentions, Regine took her time to give him a chance to learn. Think about learning to drive; it is a very good idea to take things slow at first until you feel that you have more control.

By taking her time, Regine rapidly became the only volunteer that Nono felt comfortable around. After he could tolerate her presence, his fear was replaced by curiosity. Regine followed the rules of engagement to avoid any aggression (which are really simple) and then moved onto performing simple tasks. Grooming him, putting the leash on and taking the first, tentative steps outside the kennel… you can see that film right here https://youtu.be/vETLUqZvHC8. There are other films on my Facebook page Tony Knight Dog Listener too…

New Year, New Pad…

Anyway, all that was in 2016. We are now in a new year and Nono has a change of address. Can you guess where he lives now? Regine still asks me questions from time to time, usually when something new happens. However, she calmly and safely applies the techniques she learnt from me several years ago. Together with a little patience, she has gained the trust of the Beast of Capdenac