It’s hard to believe that it has been a year today since we adopted Noodles. He’s come a long way since then but he still has some difficulties adjusting to his new life and I believe he always will. Whilst we were prepared for some of the immediate problems that an ex-stud/kennelled dog may face, there have been many surprises along the way. We anticipated a steep learning curve with things like housetraining, traffic and everyday noises, lack of basic obedience training etc but pacing when stressed, problems with reflective surfaces, fear of water were unexpected.
We were delighted to discover that he enjoys the company of other dogs and he has many good pals. What we were totally unprepared for was his distrust of people. When we met him he was very friendly, jumping all over us, seemingly pleased with the attention. He was also eager to please, a trait that has continued and flourished. It was when we had our first visitor to the house that his problems became apparent (see previous post). Noodles is still very nervous of people and I can only attribute this to a lack of socialisation as a puppy. I’m afraid that my opinion of many breeders and the way they treat their dogs has diminished seeing the long term effects this can have. I know there are responsible breeders who treat their dogs well, but they seem to be in the minority. I have spoken to many other people who have adopted ex-breeding dogs and our experiences have been remarkably similar. These dogs find their new lives bewildering and stressful at first. Owners are sometimes unprepared and struggle to help the dogs acclimatise. There is often a lack of information from the rescue agencies. Not their fault, as they aren’t aware of the full extent of the problems themselves.
Although some ex-breeding dogs end up at their appropriate breed rescue, many are sold on directly from breeders. It seems to me that they are often not classed as true “rescue” dogs but their needs and problems can match or far exceed those of the "traditional" rescue cases we are more familiar with. Whilst I would always advocate adopting a rescue over buying a puppy I realise that this is not appropriate for everyone. These dogs can be hard work but with patience, kindness and lots of hard work it is truly wonderful to see them flourish. The next time you think about sharing your life with another dog, please spare a thought for those ex-breeding dogs who, like Noodles, so deserve a second chance.