Just like in the human species, dogs sometimes need a mentor to understand that it’s OK to not be afraid.
Lady, the small, thin dog was one of these pups. Whatever the reason behind it, she was extremely skittish and unable to control her urination due to anxiety when presented with a new, unfamiliar situation.
Fortunately, her we have fostered many, many dogs and have gained valuable experience in how to go about making a dog feel safe. Interestingly enough, a dog needs to decompress and acclimate to an environment, to evaluate it as safe, before considering any human interactions other than bringing food and water.
Once the pup begins to show signs of being comfortable, the caretakers can then start to transition her into meeting other dogs. They employ a “baby steps” technique, rewarding all the dogs for safe, controlled, friendly interactions.
This process can take a day or it could take three months. But once the scared dog is ready, they get to go outside with the, already experienced, dogs that live their full time.
As you can see from the video, Sully (the large black dog )is exhibiting a behavior called “self-handicapping” where he is making himself less imposing
controlling his body so that he seems much smaller than he actually is, diving at her feet, etc in order to show her how to play safely! This is a beautiful example of a compassionate, caring dog taking care of another anxiety-riddled dog so that she can blossom into the best version of herself!