We’ve been looking after Luna for 5 months now!
She’s our 4 year old, golden retriever mix foster dog.
Being newbs to the dog foster program, we had no idea that we should start training Luna from the beginning.
Luna looks a lot like my childhood dog Sandy (yellow lab) and Martin’s childhood dog Sally (Hovawart). So we sort of assumed that we could just treat Luna like we did with Sandy and Sally, and all would be fine.
The problem is, Luna had a troubled life before us, and it affects her behaviour.
I don’t want to dwell on her problems because she is doing WONDERFULLY now. In a few short months, she has overcome a lot and it’s been very inspiring to watch her grow.
Now that we are training her, I know she will have much better chances at finding a forever home.
We’ve stopped biking so that we could dedicate the time to train her. We used to go on long 4-6 hour rides and bring her with us in a trailer. But after researching dog behaviour, we cut it out because we thought it might be overwhelming her.
You can’t train a dog by simply exposing them to scenarios and expecting that they will learn from it. They can only learn from it if they deem the experience as successful (meaning they were successful), otherwise if it’s too stressful for them and could be damaging.
Since Luna didn’t love biking with us, we take her on 4-6 hour long walks instead. Since the weather is nice, we include her favourite activity in the world: swimming!
During these walks, we slowly introduce her to other dogs in low stress ways. We watch her cues a lot. If she’s uninterested in the other dog, we won’t pull her over to meet them. But if she shows an interest, we’ll let her go up to them at her own pace. Sometimes we put on the muzzle and give her lots of positive reinforcements. Not that she’s dangerous, but the muzzle tells her that she shouldn’t bark or be aggressive, and we only do it when there are smaller dogs around.
She went from showing her teeth and over-the-top barking at ALL other dogs, to now only sometimes growling but mostly letting them come up to her to sniff and vice versa.
She is still learning how to interact with other dogs. It takes time but she has learned so much in these 2-3 short weeks we’ve started actively training her. Her next family will also have to put in some effort when it comes to socialising her with other doggies, but all humans who look after dogs should do that anyway.
I keep visualizing what kind of family I would like Luna to go to.
I see her thriving in a busy family with older kids (9+), who live in a house or a flat with outdoor space. It would be cool if they had another dog around, or even cats or birds. She’s good with cats, and birds (like budgies) really intrigue her. Right now it’s just me and Martin, and we’re suuuper boring.
I’m trying not to be one of those overemotional foster dog moms who will cry at giving Luna up. Well I mean, I know I will cry but I plan to cry after Luna leaves, because I don’t want to make it difficult for everyone, especially not Luna.
She is so attached to us. That’s our fault, as we should have kept some distance. But I really don’t know how to keep distance from a dog who lives with us for so long.
So we have to set the scene as positive and happy when her new family comes to take her away. Because it will be happy.
If I thought we could give Luna the best home, I would adopt her myself. She is SO much fun and cute and sweet and everything!! She’s a good dog. But if I’m being honest, we aren’t the best home for her. Bringing her to Thailand wouldn’t be in her best interests either. It’s too hot there, for starters, and it will expose her to so many diseases from street dogs.
Luna needs to find a good home in Germany. If anyone is interested or knows of someone who is interested, please contact me now!!!