I started fostering Flipper in February of 2012. Flipper was rescued from a shelter in rural VA and the volunteers told City Dogs Rescue that Flipper had some resource guarding issues. I immediately contacted a local trainer in Washington, DC to help us with his behavior. After a month of good progress with training, Flipper had a major setback when he bit me over a bone. I contacted the Directors and we discussed options for him. They said I could continue to foster him until they found him a suitable home or give him back to CDR immediately. They were completely understanding and supportive of my situation and realized how difficult this was for me emotionally. I didn’t feel pressured by anyone from CDR to keep Flipper in my household, but I knew that he and I already had a special bond. After much consideration, I decided to continue to foster Flipper while having a dog trainer work with us on rehabilitation of his food aggression.
In April 2014, I was finally able to bring Flipper home. I spent 2 hours at Forever Home learning the new behavioral techniques and training for Flipper and learned how to properly read his body language, eyes, and his signals for stress. Since Flipper’s return, I have been able to bring him on vacation to VA Beach with other dogs, vineyards where food and other dogs are around, and take him out to restaurants that are dog friendly, and most importantly, we’ve been able to go back to the dog parks.
The biggest lesson I have learned from Flipper is understanding his body language and what are stressor cues for him and how to properly correct it. Not every dog is going to be easy, but I want others to know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel for dogs that just need that extra help.
And CDR is there to help along the way.