The story of Maltipoo Harley is not over yet, and we are privileged to be in a position where we can not only follow his tail for the benefit of his rescue, but for an upcoming episode of tv series Furever Home too.
Maltipoo Harley was rescued by Beaver Creek Farm Sanctuary in April, one of the dozen Maltese Poodles that came from an alleged hoarding situation. Our best guess is that he was 8 months old at the time. That means he spent more time in a situation that was less than ideal for a high energy, intelligent puppy. Not much to do, nothing new to see, maybe one, maybe two humans and absolutely no guidance as to how best to use his copious companion skills. So he barked. And bounced around on his pogo stick legs, and barked some more.
Adoptable Maltipoo Learns the Ropes – fast!
So its not that surprising that when we initially rescued him, well, let’s just say Harley liked to talk to the world about EVERYTHING. When he’s happy, when he’s anxious, and when he just really needs to poop. Unfortunately anxiety was his over-riding state of mind in the big wide world beyond “the room.” So he barked – a lot. And with nothing going on behind his eyes. So we had to work to stop the barking in order that he be able to absorb the benefits of his new freedom and security.
We worked with our BCFS volunteer trainer, Lauren King, not only with Harley but with his co-rescued dogs. His learning curve was slow, but steady. After all, we were undoing some behaviour that was instilled during some very critical puppy learning time.
The good news is, once he started to learn how to learn, it came fast. Both Maltese and Poodles are breeds that are intelligent and highly motivated to please their people, so that works in this Maltipoo’s favour.
At the time we placed him the first time, we felt confident that Harley’s adoptive family would continue the methods of training that were getting such great results, and he’d be on his way to a wonderful life.
They tried their best. After two months, they realized that their expectations of themselves were beyond what Harley needs, and he came back into foster care with BCFS.
Structure and Consistency Win the Day
We picked up where were left off. Under Lauren’s excellent trainer guidance, Harley accomplished so much in just a few days you’d think he was a different dog. The barking is for the most part under control. He is responsive to direction, and he’s become comfortable and familiar with his immediate surroundings, which have been intentionally limited. As he masters one beneficial behaviour, he earns the right to graduate to the next.
And he is thriving.
We are using mind-based exercises to work with his energy, frequent short walks to practice on leash, the crate to give him peaceful down time. He is sleeping easily through the night in his crate, does his potty business on regular schedule.
Happily, he is more praise-oriented than treat-oriented, which means we have easily been able to cut out the too-many-different-kinds of treats he was getting previously.
He rests easy in his crate through the day whether foster mum is home or away. Loves to play with his toys, with people or on his own. Loves his Nyla bone, and chomps away on it as foster mom works at home, or he naps on the floor.
We are using the long-leash inside and in the yard for basic obedience training. Learning tricks and commands gives him confidence, which in turn speeds his responsiveness to correction.
Next step will be to start to slowly introduce him to some socialization exercises – going shopping, visiting the off-leash park, going on walks in crowds and the like. One of the first ones that will go a long way is having new people and dogs come to meet him.
Harley will continue to thrive with a furever family who understands that slow and steady are the best modus operandi for him at this time. Once he’s got a solid foundation of good doggy manners and confidence too, at home and in public, we’re sure he would excel at dog sports such as flyball (he LOVES those little tennis balls!) or agility. Given that poodles are water-dogs by breed, I bet he’d just love cottage living on a lake.
Harley is a natural comedian and an acrobat too. We are having a great time fostering him, though its hard work too. We have to be on our best game to give him his. We are inspired to do our best by this little grinning, smiling, curious, cuddly loving, happy-to-do-whatever-you-are-doing Maltipoo puppy, though we know it will come to an end – a happy tail end – as soon as his adoption profile hits the scene!
Beaver Creek Farm Sanctuary
Read more about Harley and his fellow rescued dogs on Beaver Creek Farm Sanctuary website here!