Behavior Hold Dogs
Behavioral Hold Dogs are special needs dogs who exhibit certain behaviors that need to be addressed and worked through in their foster homes, before they can be adoptable. Most all of these behaviors are fear based, due to being either under socialized, abused, or neglected prior to coming to the rescue. Examples include:
Fight or Flight – Some are so fearful of humans that when approached they will either attempt to bite, or run and hide, avoiding touch at every cost.
Leash Reactivity – When you can’t touch a dog, it’s not easy to get a harness or leash on them, so sometimes a “slip lead” will be used. Some of these dogs are so unfamiliar with leashes, collars, or harnesses, that once a lead is on them, they will thrash around and bite at the offending leash, risking injury to themselves.
Extreme Vocalization – Some who may not bite as a reaction to fear, will instead use extreme vocalization i.e.: growling, baring teeth, and screaming as if they are being tortured, to try to get the “threat” away.
Resource Guarding – Some may bond to their foster, or one of their foster siblings, and be reactive to any threat of that resource being taken away. This is sometimes seen with food as well, if they had to fight for their meals in their past lives.
Door Dashing – Some may be so unfamiliar with living indoors, that any open door can be a risk, as they will try to “escape” this unfamiliar life and humans, any chance they can get.
Potty Training – They may not be able to be fully potty trained, especially if they have lived indoors or in a crate and have had to potty wherever they could. So potty pads, and multiple mattress pads, are necessary for the BH foster or adopter.
The Behavioral Foster home has a daunting, but highly rewarding task when they take in a new BH Foster. They will initially need to give them space to decompress, and just let them observe without approaching. After a few days of decompression, they will need to start working on gaining their trust. This can sometimes take months, or even years.
Does this mean a Behavioral Hold Dog cannot be adopted? NO! However, the potential adopter will need to be experienced with dogs who are basically feral. They will need to understand that they may never be “normal” dogs who can travel, feel comfortable with strangers, sit on laps, or even go on walks. They will need someone to accept them as they are, and not have ANY expectations, but still also be willing to push their boundaries gently. They will need to be able to rejoice in the little progresses, as they may seem small to us, but they are HUGE for them. They are a lot of WORK, not typical to a well-rounded, well socialized dog. HOWEVER, if you’re willing to put the work, time, patience, understanding, and love in, adopting a behavioral needs dog can be one of the most rewarding, when you can witness those little progresses, or look back at how they started.
We at AZCR will keep them in foster, until they either progress enough to be close to “normal” adoptable dogs, OR until that right person/home comes along. We will be even more vigilant in our vetting of potential adopters, to ensure they fully understand their specific challenges.