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Zannah – A Critter Case Study

December 27, 2015

Three years ago I met an extremely timid, fast Doberman Pinscher. I was asked to meet her to see if I would be a fit to spend time with her when her human parents traveled. Someone who does not know dogs and their behavior would not be a fit for this little girl. She would bark excessively (the most ferocious sounding bark I have ever heard) and jump and run if you moved too fast, if you reached out to pet her, talked to her, or even made eye contact. She needed someone who would give her lots of time and space to become friends.

We hit it off okay in the beginning. I knew to ignore her and give her peanut butter when she approached me. Peanut butter was very helpful. Her parents also bought her a new toy for me to give to her each time when I arrived the first few times.

Every time I would walk into the living room to sit on the couch, she would jump up and stand on the love seat (her safety spot), poised to run if I made a move to go near her. This cautious behavior continued through three different times that I stayed with her.

Then the love and trust came in bits and pieces. Another dog walker came to see her, and after she left, I realized that Zannah was less nervous with me. It seemed like she viewed the other sitter as an outsider, which brought me a little further into her "family".

It has taken three patient years, but now this sweet little beauty and I play chase, hide-n-seek and she takes treats and food directly from my hand. She even chooses to lay on the couch next to me when we watch TV. She has taught me a lot and stolen my heart in the process.

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