View Full Version : Bonding with Rescue Cavs

15th October 2008, 01:41 PM
Hello All,

I would welcome your advice and experience re cavs that you have adopted.

I had both my cavs from 8 weeks old and have recently lost Bailey aged 12.

Dan is 12.5 and as he loves his rest and has become a little bit grumpy perhaps it isn't the right time to introduce another dog. He is missing his life-long friend, we both are.

I know that I will never be able to replace either dog, but I wouldn't want to be without one for long. I just wondered about having a rescue. I know I would love him, but would he take to me?

I think this is a great forum and the support you give to each other is great. I'm still grieving for my lovely Tri. I will post photos when I feel a bit better.

Best wishes to you all

15th October 2008, 01:45 PM
I know that I will never be able to replace either dog, but I wouldn't want to be without one for long. I just wondered about having a rescue. I know I would love him, but would he take to me?


I've found rescues are more loving as they appreaciate you more.

15th October 2008, 01:51 PM
Thanks for that. ;)


15th October 2008, 02:03 PM
I foster (not for CavTalk but for DID) and I find any dog that comes into my house from the disgraceful situation that they have been in appriciates every little thing you do for them. I get so much love from my fosters and I try to give them lots back. It's only when I think about how badly tey have been treated that I cn even imagine how they must feel in a safe place, with loads of food, toys, plenty of walks and a nice warm bed to sleep in at night. Often they are "difficult" dogs at the start but they all just melt into big teddy bears!

I also have an adopted dog, a working Cocker, and when I first got him I have the same fears that you have ("will he fit in?" ""will I love him as much as my other dogs?" etc) and they all disapoperared when he settled into my house and just became one of the family. There were some power struggles and he needed a lot (I cannot stress how much!) work when he first arrived but it all paid off and I wouldn't be without him (my very narky Cavalier also loves him to bits, they are a little team, but she appears to be of the "meh" mentality until he needs her help - which is more often that you would think!)

15th October 2008, 02:04 PM
First of all I'm so sorry you lost one of your pups :(

I don't have a rescue myself (yet), but everybody tells me they are even more grateful then the ones you have as a puppy.. They are loving as well of course but they tell me it's different..

So I think I'll have a rescue one day as well (when we have room for it).. but do keep in mind that some come with a history so in your case I think I'd really look for a dog a little bit older so that Dan can keep his peace, if you know what I mean.. I notice that Qwick (almost 9) can sometimes be very grumpy towards Qwebble (2) and Qnotje (6 months) when they are playing and making a lot of fuss and noice (which comes with the playing of course).. It's actually funny to see his reaction sometimes but still :)

I think you know what I mean.. Any way a lot of strenght in the next days/weeks and give Dan a big big hug so that you can find comfort with eachother!

Daisy's Mom
15th October 2008, 02:12 PM
I'm so sorry about Bailey. I'm sure you gave him a great life with lots of love.

I think a rescue dog would love you very quickly because they don't necessarily take returned love for granted. I've fostered 3 rescue dogs, 2 of which came from a very bad situation, and all 3 of them bonded to me very quickly. The two that came from the byb were never so happy as when I was holding them and talking to them. It's like they'd been waiting all their lives for this. Of course, that made me feel guilty when they went on to their forever home, but I knew that bonding process would happen again in their new home. Cavaliers are such lovers and I think they are always looking for love, too.

Some rescues would be more challenging than others because of past abuse, but once they trust you, they are over the moon for you.

15th October 2008, 02:20 PM
It's only when I think about how badly tey have been treated that I cn even imagine how they must feel in a safe place, with loads of food, toys, plenty of walks and a nice warm bed to sleep in at night.

Its always heartbreaking how much they appreaciate the little things , some of them can't believe they have a soft bed. they nuzzle it & cuddle it & wont let go
We had a some cavaliers who had been starved but we couldnt get them off their new cushion even for food ( one of them had gone to sleep in a box full of tools so that shows what they were used too)

15th October 2008, 02:39 PM
Our family has been doing cavalier rescue for over 7 years. We've had owner releases and we've had commercial breeding dogs recently and they are very different in their behavior and training needed. A cavalier rescue that has known the love of people will bounce back much faster than a dog that has never had a positive interaction with humans.

15th October 2008, 03:41 PM
Sandy has said just what I was going to say. Some rescue dogs will be aloof and distant all their lives. If you opt for a rescue you need to make the commitment that the dog has a home and will be accepted for who he or she is, not expected to be what we might like a rescue dog, or any dog, to be. If it is important for a dog to be a certain way, it is a better idea to get a puppy or young dog and work to shape it to what you'd like that dog to be.

And while it sometimes is true for some dogs, it is simply not true that all rescues will love you more, bond more closely, or think you are the most wonderful person in the world. Some will remain mistrustful of people most of their lives, and some -- most -- come with some type emotional and behavioural baggage that may take months to years of work-- or just acceptance and management. That is why they tend to come into rescue in the first place. The situation is rarely only that the family just had a baby, or doesn't have time. Those are usually code words for "we never had time, never trained this dog, and now he needs some work and we don't want him."

Does that mean these aren't great dogs? No :) -- it just means to be realistic about getting a rescue and realise there will generally be at least some remedial work to do on training and behaviour. They may well be hard work, as challenging as a new puppy. Sometimes the new owners are a lot more needy than the rescue dog and need to feel they are doing the dog a huge favour and changing its life and therefore let it get away with all sorts of things, making it worse than it might have originally been-- you end up with a dog with severe separation anxiety created by an overly dependent owner needing to bond with the dog, not the other way around! Dogs like children tend to do best and be happiest when they are given structure and some independence and allowed to be who they are rather than smothered, overly fussed over and catered for, and expected to be what they are not. :thmbsup:

Most rescue dogs are not serious problem dogs at all, though and just have minor issues (that will still take commitment and understanding!). Most rescues including me are primarily rehoming other people's dogs that have not been abused, mistreated or overly neglected and so will fit in pretty easily. :). Even the puppy farm dogs I've had in, excepting one -- Megan who is now in Scotland -- were not terribly neglected and weren't maltreated. Megan herself bounced back very quickly BUT -- the important thing is that she like all the other puppy farm dogs I've had in, was obviously someone's pet before they ended up as breeding dogs. It is a lot easier for dogs like this to revert back to their old selves than some of the long term, lifetime puppy farm dogs of the type you see at Many Tears rescue, or Lucky Star in the US, to ever become normal.

So what you are likely to get with a rescue is simply a former housedog being rehomed for some reason and as such they fit pretty quickly into a new home.

Actually one of the smallest worries anyone has adopting any rescue dog of any breed is 'bonding' -- probably one of the most meaningless concepts as almost every dog alive will bond immediately with at least one person in a new situation and often all of them. I have rehomed well over 100 cavaliers and helped with general rescue as well and never once has a dog had any problems enjoying its new family. :) The only issue I have ever seen with bonding is when people get two puppies together and they grow up more interested in each other and too closely bonded together and interdependent -- as they are rarely managed properly and given lots of independent training and care, and thus have serious anxiety issues if they actually have to be separated even for a vet stay.

More of an issue and sometimes, a problem, is the new owner's assumptions and expectations. Dogs generally end up being the dogs we want because we as owners give them time and training. Dogs end up not being the dogs we want for lack of same. At the same time all dogs have different personalities and will have been shaped by their life to date, so all of that goes into the pot. Rescues are not much different most of the time from taking on any previously owned dog.

15th October 2008, 05:09 PM
very well said Karlin you get out has much has you put in
Jake my new rescue did have a few issues he lost his owners with in a week of each other and no one wanted him a little rescue had him with the warning that he might bite which he did in the first 24 hours but it was not his fault it was my fault now he knows that he is safe and bar that you do not try to take his food from him he is fine the other thing is that with my dogs he is OK but not any others outside last week went to pat him and he duck so I think at some stage he has been hit we are working on this and I think in time he will get better
now my Sam was a sweet heart :lotsaluv:
---Aileen and the gang(Barney---Jazzie---Jake)

15th October 2008, 06:38 PM
Thank you all so much for your comments. I really appreciate you taking the time to share your views with me.

Foster Mum's: Thank heaven for you! You're doing a wonderful service. I would enjoy doing this too, but don't know how I would cope with saying "Bye Bye"- sure I would probably end up with a houseful of beauties.

I would be happy to rescue a cav. I would certainly give him/her lots of love and would feel very rewarded knowing the dog was safe with me.

I will give all your advice much thought and won't rush into anything. It's good to share ideas and make an informed choice.


16th October 2008, 01:57 AM
I've had my little rescue, Jenny, since July and she is getting better, but she is still fearful if one moves to quickly and has maintained her "trust" issues. I think she will probably have this to deal with possibly forever and that is fine. She is secure in her home, well fed, healthy, and much loved. I don't expect a lot from her so anything I get is GREAT! I cannot undo 16 months of the miserable life she had, I can only make each day a good one for her. I also think we'll probably have the potty issues, but we are diligent about going out every few hours with lots of praise and a little reward when she does go outside. Maybe one day it will click for her. All I know is that she isn't the same dog I picked up in July! Her coat is better and she went from 8.2 pounds to 10.1! She has made Emma's life a lot more fun and that in itself is a really good thing! I would do it again in a heartbeat.

16th October 2008, 11:26 AM
Marilyn that is a great story! :)

I cannot recommend rescues of all types highly enough BUT-- not all types of rescue suit all types of people (which is why working closely with a reputable rescue that properly evaluates dogs and talks to you in detail too, is important). Plus people need to be aware that rescue dogs are not the same as getting a duplicate of the dog you have (this seems obvious but many people at least subconsciously are imagining a second Rover, not a fresh personality and one that likely has some issues). I like people to understand the potential challenges, small or large, to be clear to a rescue on what they are looking for, and to let the dogs be who they are and come around in their own time (with support and love and training of course).

Also on potty treats -- try always using something of really high value like a piece of chicken or ham or dried liver -- most dogs will be eager to perform for something they REALLY love. Dr Ian Dunbar talks about how dogs figure out fast that they can 'cash in' their urine and poops for FOOD... just hold it and go where they want and I get great food! If the treat is lower value -- just a bit of kibble or biscuit --- the motivation is much weaker. Think about being a kid and the difference in motivation to do a chore if your parent was offering $1 vs $5. :lol:

16th October 2008, 11:49 AM
If I could really just echo pretty much what Karlin has said.

We adopted Murphy about 5 months ago. He came to us very aloof and not overly into affection, unlike most cavs i know. More than love and cuddles he needed discipline and structure to his life. We have always been rather strict with our dogs... not allowed on sofa unless invited, not allowed in the bedroom etc etc... and this is what he needed. Hearing from his foster-mum in Ireland we knew he had been in a very bad way, although he was not as bad as this after having spent time with the Spaniel Trust(where we adopted him from). He needed probably about the same, if not more work than a puppy. It was a different kind of work, on his behaviour and training.
Five months down the line, he is still a bit aloof, in the sense he is quite independent.... doesnt have to be touching me all the time like Holly does, but does like to be in the same room or at least know where we are. He LOVES cuddles more than Holly though. I wasnt even sure that was possible in a dog. I found I bonded with him pretty quickly, but I am aware from family members and friends that the bonding process can take longer.

At the end of the day, I will never know exactly what my wee Murph went through, but I can make the rest of his life the best it can be. That doesnt always mean showered with kisses and cuddles and treats etc, but it means giving him the structure, discipline, and unconditional love he deserves. With a rescue, you will have to accept that there are things you cannot change about them... whatever it may be. They will always, imo, have the memories of what happened to them.

Murphy needs to trust people before he will happily play with them, or cuddle in to them.

If you are going to adopt a rescue, i think it is pertinent to look at why a rescue, why not a puppy; are you prepared to put all the time into training and working on any behavioural issues; do you have the time and maybe people to turn to if you had any problems (this probably relates to Karlins point about looking into rescue orgz); is it a cuddly/kissy dog you are looking for; are you looking for a dog to act in a particular way (remember rescues already have a developed personality externally to anything you may try to teach them, or how you may try to shape them). Yes a puppy will require house training and sleepless nights etc, but so may a rescue!

I just know of some other people who have taken on rescues thinking it would be easier than a pup, and it has turned out to be more difficult and hasnt worked out. :(It is is a big decision.

I may be biased on the issue because it worked out really well for me, for Murphy, and im sure Holly will agree she loves having Murph about, and my OH will defo agree.... (he's daddys wee boy! lol :rolleyes:).

Sorry to have rambled on there, but i thought having a personal point of view there may help you one way or another. :thmbsup:

16th October 2008, 11:57 AM
Perhaps Mary, if you try fostering first, it might give you an idea of what a rescue dog is all about.Sooner or later you'll find one that you fall so much in love with and will fit in with your home environment and get on with the other canine members and you'll apply to keep. I think I've fostered about six, two of which I fell in love and came very close to keeping one ,until someone who was so perfect for her turned up and could give her so much more than I could. To be honest you won't bond with every dog you foster,and you'll be ok about rehoming them,the best way to describe it is satisfaction that you've kept a dog safe until the right home came through for the dog, but when you find the one for you, you'll just know!

17th October 2008, 07:17 AM
I am currently fostering a cocker. He is my first foster kid. My bf and I were concerned that we wouldn't like him as much our own since his eyes look funny. (Post Cherry-Eye Surgery) WE LOVE HIM! He is so sweet.

18th October 2008, 10:12 PM
the two i have rehomed settled straight in,they were just as loving as the one i had from a puppy.
they didnt come from a bad past so that probably helped things along.

18th October 2008, 10:26 PM
I currently have two foster puppyfarm cavs who came in last night, already they screamed after my mother when I tried to walk them away from her at toilet time ( guess who's been giving them biscuits)
Then I had to walk along with a dog attached to my leg because she wanted cuddles