Ruby (aka Narla)

Ruby came to us from fosterers Mandy and Terry, who chose her name. Ruby clearly had a wonderful time with their dogs Nemo and Jess and we can’t thank them enough for caring for Ruby until we were able to offer her a permanent home. Keryn came to check her out when we first got her home and we were all set for the start of our time together. Ruby is a gentle dog, very willing to please and quick to learn. Being part huntaway she can be quite vocal at times but she is learning when it’s okay to bark and when to be quiet though Ruby is not yet always in agreement with us on this one. We have taught her to bark on command from a hand signal but it has taken a while for her to be confident enough to give a proper bark ­ as she spent the first few weeks with us learning not to bark at every car door closing or noises from the neighbours. She gave a very puzzled look of disbelief when we first asked her to bark, followed by a hesitant muffled little squeak noise. She really couldn’t believe we wanted her to bark! But now she’s into the spirit of it and gives a proper bark when we tell her.

From her behaviour we think Ruby may have spent lots of time by herself and probably wasn’t socialised properly as a puppy, as she is very timid with things she hasn’t encountered. Loud noises, new people, new dogs, wind noise, snow, the vacuum cleaner, you name it and she is anxious encountering it for the first time. We have spent quite a bit of time getting Ruby used to things that scare her and the effort has been well worthwhile. A classic example ­ she will now happily follow the vacuum cleaner around the house ­waiting for the occasional food treats that still appear on top of it when we do the vacuuming. But to start with, she would leave the room at the first sign of the vacuum cleaner. Likewise she is much better with loud vehicle noises and meeting new people.

She still finds meeting new dogs a real challenge but we are slowly seeing progress in her ability to meet new dogs without overreacting to them. She should be able to go to group socialization classes soon to improve her social skills. We have had advice and support from Laura, through Dog rescue, for this which has been great. Ruby has picked up basic obedience training fairly quickly and is good around home with sit, come, lie down, stand, stay, leave, but is not yet fully compliant away from home. She is walking well on the lead in most situations and we are seeing good progress with her loud and antisocial habit of barking at dogs and people that come near the car when she is in it. We started Ruby on nose work recently as a way giving her some mental exercise and she seems to really enjoy searching the house for hidden objects just using her nose. She can be a terrible sneaky, peaking cheat ­ tiptoeing behind us as we hide the things for her to sniff out!! ­ so we have to make sure we close the door while we hide stuff for her to find!!

Yes, it can seem tricky to rehome a rescue dog, there are things you do not know about their past – but mostly they are fine, happy and just adore being cared for and loved. Even dogs needing some extra care and training, like Ruby, are well worth the time and effort – the rewards far outweigh the “costs” and everyone wins – what an outcome for any lost dog!

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