The Keeshond is generally a cheerful, people-oriented dog. Bred for centuries as a companion, the Keeshond’s job is to be someone’s friend. Those of us who are lucky enough to live with Kees are very spoiled by our happy, good-natured dogs!
Then, there’s Rosie… At 15 months old, this very gentle Keesie girl was just terrified. We’re not sure what went wrong for her in her short life before coming to BARK. It’s clear that she was badly mistreated. Only in survivors of puppy mills have we met a Keeshond so fearful!
Rosie is a girl who needs very special management. Her foster family started by giving her a calm environment to relax in, and gradually teaching her that she’s safe and she can trust them — nothing bad is going to happen to her. At first, she spent a lot of time in her crate in the dining room, where she felt safe. Slowly, she began to be less afraid, and to show us her bouncy, playful inner Keeshond. She’s adorable when she play bows and prances and wags her tail! She wants so much to be loved and happy!
It really helped that she likes dogs. The other dogs in her foster home are her role models, showing her that she doesn’t need to be afraid of everything.
Fortunately, the Keeshond is a resilient breed. With time and patience, Rosie is rediscovering her cheerful Keeshond personality.
We’re calling her Rosie. Rosie Posy… because we expect her to blossom.
Due to Rosie’s extreme anxiety and fearfulness, our vet prescribed anti-anxiety medication for her. It’s not a cure, but helped her to be less anxious while her foster family taught her that she’s safe. As the medication took effect, she became a different dog — coming out of her crate to greet people, wagging her tail, spinning, even play bowing! She really is a Keesie! At her next visit, the vet said he could see a big improvement in her behavior – she kept approaching him and sniffing his hand, which she wouldn’t do before.
3 weeks later, Rosie went to the vet for a recheck, and she did great!!! She walked right up to the vet, took treats from him, and kissed his hand and face! She wagged her tail, and even did play bows for her foster mom! The vet was so impressed with her improvement!
Yay, Rosie! You go, girl!
Rosie had improved so much, she was ready to go on a big adventure! Her foster mom took her to visit the wonderful trainers at Tug Dogs for an evaluation, to learn what we can do to help her make even more progress. We’re so proud of how well she did!
This sweet Keesie girl was so terrified when she arrived, she wouldn’t let anyone touch her – she’d run as far away from humans as she could get, and when she couldn’t go any farther, she’d crouch down, trembling in fear. It took her weeks to take treats from her foster mom’s hand. There she was at Tug Dogs, meeting strangers in a strange place for the first time. Still very skittish, but approaching humans, taking treats, exploring the yard on leash. How far she’d come!
We made arrangements for Rosie to go back to Tug Dogs for a longer visit. The wonderful trainers at Tug Dogs specialize in helping dogs with anxiety and fear issues, teaching them to feel safe and confident and to trust their humans to guide them in the world. Here are some of her adventures at Tug Dogs camp:
UPDATE #1 at Tug Dogs: Before entering rescue, Rosie lived a severely under-socialized life. And seeing novel, inanimate objects, like this large touch pad, can be pretty scary for Rosie.
When she first saw this new “thing,” she did not understand what it was or if it was dangerous, and absolutely did not want be anywhere near it. While we humans know this is just a simple, stable platform, from Rosie’s point of view, this thing could potentially hurt her.
We would never force her and we could have just shelved it and moved on. But Rosie has a spirit of curiosity, courage, and resilience that, with proper coaching and careful handling, can help her overcome her fears and significantly build her confidence.
After spending one session a day allowing Rosie to explore the touch pad and shaping (or encouraging) her as she continued to make steps toward it, she has come to really enjoy interacting with it!
Rosie is learning that she is safe, that lots of positive reinforcement comes from working together as a team, and, ultimately, that she can trust humans.
UPDATE #2 at Tug Dogs: This has been a week of firsts for Rosie! Rosie went on her very first walk and it was fantastic!
This is a major milestone for Rosie, who was originally so terrified of *everything* that when she arrived into rescue she was too frightened to even leave her crate.
With great care and patience from her rescue and her foster home over the last several months, Rosie made wonderful strides, and was finally ready to begin a board and train program with us.
As we continue to strengthen Rosie’s sense of safety, trust, and self-confidence, she is out exploring and smelling all the things, with the help of her Tug Dogs doggie pals!
UPDATE #3 at Tug Dogs): Rosie had a blast on her very first field trip! And what better field trip than to nearby, spacious Folsom Lake!? She wanted to trot up to everyone we passed at the lake: people in the parking lot, people hiking along the trail, and people walking dogs, and she wanted to go up to each of them. A woman walked within feet of us at the shoreline and Rosie wanted to go with her… nearly ran up to the woman, in a very friendly way, and wanted to follow her. She would look up when kids would squeal, but didn’t seem phased and would go back to walking around in the water. We didn’t meet anyone – we don’t want to risk intros with people we don’t know. Intros are always carefully managed, so that it’s always positive for her.
Here’s a photo of her meeting a new person! She went right up to him, sniffed him, ate the treats scattered at his feet, went to check the other room, then came back, hopped up on the couch next to him, sniffed his arms and head, licked him, and ate the treats he offered to her. She did get slightly alarmed by his deep voice, so I had him switch to a softer, more high-pitched tone and she was fine with that. Deep voices are still a little scary.
With the help of her awesome Tug Dogs trainer Cheantelle, Rosie made amazing progress! Back in her foster home, she continued her lessons with her foster mom, doing a lot of confidence building, giving her new good experiences to broaden her horizons, helping her learn to be more comfortable in the world.
She’s still cautious, and she still startles at unexpected noises and motions. But she doesn’t freak out at noises that would have sent her fleeing in utter, blind panic, and she recovers quickly. Brave girl, Rosie! We’re so proud of you!
Miss Rosie Posy has come a very, very long way since her arrival in rescue! Her confidence is growing by leaps and bounds. She’s eager for new experiences and joyfully tries new things.
Now she’s taking advantage of her new-found courage to go through the puppyhood she missed in her previous life. Pester the other dogs (try to steal their toys and chewies!) Pester the kitty and make him play with you. Did the humans sit down? Climb all over them (this from a dog who wouldn’t let a human near her.) Oh, my. Rosie has become a handful. LOL
Run very, very fast! Around and around and around. Did a falling leaf startle her? Pounce on it, bite it, and carry it away! Who is that new person? She must meet him! And he MUST pet her! Such an amazing difference!
One day, Rosie’s foster mom took her on a giant adventure! They took a long drive to Competition Canine in Placerville. Rosie got to explore all around. She checked out all the agility equipment and sniffed everything.
The tunnels were sca-a-a-ary! Especially the openings. She got up her courage to approach and take treats near the openings, but did not go inside. The sides were okay, though.
The weave poles were a little scary at first, too. What are those all about? But she did sniff them to check them out, and finally went through 2 poles to get a treat. Ohhh, those aren’t so bad. They’re just a little strange.
She volunteered to put her front feet on the A-frame and got some treats for that. And the jumps!! Well, those are just too, too fun! Rosie had a wonderful time! We’re so proud of her!
Thanks to Competition Canine for allowing us to use the facility! And thanks to our awesome photographer friend Linda Blake (KarmaRocks Photography) for meeting us there and taking pix for us!
Rosie is ready for the next part of her life’s journey – her forever home! She so much wants her own person to love! She’ll thrive in a calm home with a kind person who’ll give her lots of attention and good experiences. A house full of noisy small children would be too scary for her (little kids move so fast and suddenly), but she does fine with older, dog-savvy kids. She’d love to have a doggie playmate to help her explore the world with joy and confidence. This super sweet girl is going to be a very special, once-in-a-lifetime dog for a very lucky person!
Rosie’s expenses have topped $3000. Can you help? (Donations to BARK are tax-deductible.)