News and Media

PAW-MATE: Sadie is ready to shine

July 16, 2016

From the moment we met Sadie, she stood out. The shy mastiff mix came to us as a stray, wearing a tea towel as a bandana. She was affectionately dubbed ‘Sadie, the cleaning lady’.

Sadie was anxious, unsure and lacked confidence with people and other dogs. She was placed into our Behaviour Program to help her reach her full, thriving potential.

“She’s absolutely gorgeous,” said Gemma, behaviour trainer at the Home.

LDH-Sadie-920498With positive reinforcement training and plenty of TLC, Sadie’s cheeky personality started to emerge.

“When Sadie first came in, she was a little bit shy and reserved. But after one or two sessions with her trainer, she was bounding around, doing a bit of a funny bunny-hop through the bushes,” said Gemma.

For the past 12 weeks, our behaviour team has been teaching Sadie new skills to help build her confidence and prepare her for a smooth transition into a new home.

“Sadie has learned to touch. If you put your hand out and say ‘touch’, she touches your hand with her nose and then she gets a treat. So, she now associates people’s hands with a treat,” said Gemma.

“Sadie has also learned to go to her mat. If we put a bed on the floor and ask Sadie to ‘go to mat’, she goes on her mat, lies down and looks up for a treat. That has helped her with some independence training. It shows her that it’s ok to be away from us, and nothing bad is going to happen.”

Helping Sadie learn and grow has been very rewarding for Gemma.

She’s really come a long way. When she first entered the Behaviour Program, she would back off from strangers. She was a little bit apprehensive and wasn’t really sure. But now, she will bound up to you and look at you for a treat,” said Gemma.

“Sadie has also come a long way with dogs. Initially, she lacked confidence and social skills with dogs. Now, she’s had many off-lead plays with some other friendly dogs, and she loves to play.”

Watch Sadie’s video here.

Dogs like Sadie can spend weeks or months in our Behaviour Program until they’re ready for adoption. Spending so much time with these dogs and watching them flourish; members of our behaviour team develop a very special connection with them.

For Gemma, Sadie will always be a special soul.

The thing I love most about Sadie is that she’s an older dog. At six years of age, she’s had a bit of life experience. I just love to see dogs that are a bit older go from being shy and reserved and then blossoming into these beautiful, happy dogs.”

LDH-Sadie-920498-2Now a happy and confident dog, Sadie is ready to find a new home. With her laid-back nature, she’ll make a wonderful companion for a family with kids, and may enjoy sharing her home with another friendly dog.

“She’d suit any home, really. She’s quite lazy, so you don’t have to be fit. She just enjoys a walk around the block and then she’ll settle on her bed and have a nap,” said Gemma.

Though our behaviour team will miss Sadie and her loving presence, they’re eagerly awaiting the day when they’ll finally see her head off to her forever home. As with all dogs who have been through our Behaviour Program, they’ll always be happy to support Sadie’s new family with any training needs.

“We offer ongoing support from the time of adoption right through the dog’s life. We want to help adopters with any training needs, from toilet training to introducing a new pet into the home. We also offer post-adoption training sessions – a free 45-minute training session with one of our trainers,” said Gemma.

It’s really rewarding, of course for us because we form such a strong bond with these dogs, but it’s really good for the owners to be able to come in and see someone who has already established a bond with their dog.

“The most rewarding part of the job is seeing these dogs come back in with their families.”

Sadie has been on anti-anxiety medication during her stay with us, as prescribed by a vet. Coupled with positive reinforcement training, this medication helps to reduce anxiety in dogs like Sadie, which enables them to focus on their training. It increases their learning capacity so they can be trained to change their emotional and behavioural response to situations that they find scary or stressful. This course of medication is only temporary, and our behaviour team will be happy to provide more information to Sadie’s new family.

Can you offer Sadie a loving forever home? To learn more, view her adoption profile or contact our behaviour team on (03) 9329 2755.