This week a rescue centre asked me to assess a boisterous Airedale Terrier that was proving impossible to re home. He’d lasted less than a day with his previous family and staff were concerned he’d spend the rest of his life behind bars.
Jasper came with a bad reputation for disruptive behaviour, dragging his handler and lunging at everything in his path, whining and barking incessantly and jumping all over the furniture. At 12 months old Jasper already had an ASBO and seemed doomed to a very bleak future.
I listened carefully to his catalogue of shame then took him for a short walk. Jasper told me a very different story. He longed to please but had no idea what was expected. Swamped with affection but deprived of education Jasper was doing the best he could in a world he didn’t understand.
How was he supposed to know how to walk if he’d been encouraged to charge around the park? Jasper didn’t even know where ‘heel’ was. No wonder he lunged at visitors, he’d been fussed for doing exactly that. As far as Jasper knew that’s what people wanted.
It took less then an hour to show Jasper where to walk, how to meet and greet and when to sit and be quiet. We're going to work with Jasper over the coming weeks confident he will now find a good home but his life came very close to ruin.
Like many dogs Jasper was almost killed by kindness.