Saturday, May 28, 2016

Hardy's public appearances

Friday evening we took Maya and Hardy down to James River Brewery in Scottsville. Everyone knows Maya there, of course, but it was Hardy's first outing. It was probably more people than he's ever seen in one place at one time. He's very wary of new people and he talks at lot. His talking is a non-stop rapid bark sort of noise. He's not aggressive but he's clearly uncomfortable.

He kept it up for about 10 minutes and I was making plans to take him back home, but he finally settled down. Ten minutes isn't all that long, but with a barking dog in a public place it seemed like an eternity. Apparently he was very scared of women when he came to the shelter, but at this point I couldn't discern any difference in his reaction to woman vs. men. What makes a difference is the attitude of the person. If the person he's meeting is confident, is not put off by his vocalization, and will reach out to touch the dog, Hardy settles down quickly. If people are nervous, he is nervous.

After a while more and more people came and he no longer reacted to each new person. He had a number of people around him, including three children, all making contact. He clearly liked being touched and it went a long way toward calming his nerves. Maya's presence may have helped by example, but I did wish that she would have taken a more active role in telling him to shut up and calm down.

On Saturday I took Hardy to his first adoption event, with Promises Animal Rescue up in Gainesville, VA. It was his second public outing, however, and he was remarkably better. He did a little bit of the vocalization when meeting new people, but again, if the person was confident, and would speak to and touch the dog, Hardy was put at ease.

He didn't seem to care about their age, size, or gender, it was simply a matter of a little time to get acquainted and the person's level of confidence. He did very well with all the volunteers who just ignored his nervous vocalizations and proceeded to pet the dog. I was more cautious with members of the public and consequently, so was he, but if they were willing to be patient and make an effort it didn't take much to win him over.

He is going to need a home that will make a commitment to improving his confidence and social skills.

That's Hardy on the left and another young male shepherd named Cowboy on the right.
Hardy tried his best to get Cowboy to play but it was Cowboy's first outing too, and he was
too nervous. Hardy was actually the more confident of the two, but Cowboy was quieter. 

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