Consistency, Dedication and Love Helped Reo
At the end of October 2021, Reo came to us as a local owner surrender. His previous owners had taken him in during the pandemic and they were returning to work and realized they weren’t able to care for him.
When he arrived, he was a 10-month-old energetic, playful pup. Working with him those first few days, we learned that when he was overstimulated or bored he would jump up on people, pull on clothing, and begin to mouth their arms and legs. He also tugged on leashes when going for walks.
Initially, we kept him to staff-only so that we could evaluate his behaviors and develop a plan to curb the unwanted behavior. We consulted with Beth MacLeod, our Director of Training and Behavior, CPDT-KA, who wanted us to reinforce keeping “4 on the floor” (4 paws on the ground) and encourage calming behaviors with positive training. Dog Programs Coordinator Emma Wailgum, KPA CTP, also consistently worked with Reo, teaching him “stay” and “wait’ to work on his impulse control.
Luckily, he loved dogs and got to play with many, many dogs friends at the shelter. This helped to keep his mind active and to burn off energy. During his quiet time, he would do enrichment activities such as puzzle toys.
As he improved, Reo was able to interact with volunteers. They continued to follow his behavior plan. He was taken on field trips to get him out of the shelter. On one field trip, he accompanied Executive Director Liz Jefferis to meet and bring groceries to her friend that was in hospice care. Reo got an A+ for being so well-behaved.
After several weeks of in-shelter training, Reo went home with one of our experienced fosters, Justina. Foster homes provide us with valuable information on how a dog will act in a less stressful environment and helps to concentrate on training. Justina explained how she helped Reo by working with him on his manners and giving him guidance and structure between basic commands. She also played with him inside and outside and gave him puzzles and toys, which she said were a huge hit with him.
In February 2022, Reo moved into a foster-to-adopt home with a young couple that had some experience with basic puppy-type jumpy/mouthy behavior and were packed with a ton of patience and dedication. With a new start and a new name, Ringo, he flourished in their home. Meaghan, his adoptive mom, says, “Consistency is the name of the game with this good boy. My husband and I have worked with him so much every day. Small things, like teaching him to go to his bed when he is getting a little too rambunctious, have been so helpful for him to self-regulate.”
Reo, the same boy who, when he first came to the shelter, couldn’t be walked or handled because of certain behaviors, has evolved through hard work to this: “He loves to go to breweries, Mike’s softball games, and on his daily 3-mile morning walk around the neighborhood. He has a few friends he regularly sees on these walks, and he is a friendly boy to them all. He has been great with other dogs and babies.”
Just eight months in his home, to the delight of the staff and many volunteers (especially his foster mom, Justina), Ringo made an appearance at the Baypath’s annual Paws & Claws 5k walk/run and we all were able to see his amazing transformation.