I adopted my first dog in 1991. I named her Iphie. She was about ten months old when I took her home. A beautiful brown and tan girl. An Airedale Terrier mix. She seemed so sad and calm in her kennel. That all changed when she came out to meet me and she turned out to be a wild child!
When I brought her to the veterinarian for her first check-up , he suggested that I make an effort to get her used to being touched. Iphie would be a better companion to me -- and a better patient for him -- if she would hold still while her paws, ears, and mouth were examined.
I now know that this should have been part of her earliest socializing. Whoever raised her as a puppy should have earned her trust with regular gentle contact. She would have had a different relationship with her previous people if they had devoted some time each day to such positive interaction.
It didn't take long for me to earn Iphie's trust. Although she was still a little rambunctious at times (ten months is still a puppy, after all), she could also be calm, affectionate, and sweet. We bonded in play and in relaxation. When she was sleepy, I would hold her paws and stroke her ears. She quickly became used to physical touch and she became my best friend.
Iphie was one of many, many adolescent dogs who end up in shelters because their people don't make an effort to socialize and train them while they are young. And that's such a shame because everybody loves babies but fewer people want to start a relationship with a rowdy adolescent.
But even rowdy adolescents deserve a second chance. (And they are often housetrained!)
When I was trying to come up with a name for this blog, I thought of Iphie and her paws. Pause to consider paws.