When Dolly first arrived at Lollypop Farm in May, she was so frightened that she spent her first days cowering and growling in the back of her kennel. Dolly’s family had been going through a divorce, and she wasn’t able to stay in her home any longer.
Dolly was so afraid that she wouldn’t even approach the front of her kennel when a staff member visited her. But the Behavior Team at Lollypop Farm immediately recognized Dolly’s behavior as defensive, rather than offensive. This scared girl just needed the chance to learn to trust people again.
Before evaluating Dolly’s behavior, our staff decided to try out some pre-evaluation tactics to see if they could help Dolly come out of her shell. They visited her daily with treats, slowly coaxing her to the front of the kennel and rewarding her when she did. Making sure Dolly felt comfortable in the shelter was their top priority before they would even consider giving her a behavior evaluation. Once Dolly began to recognize staff members and accept treats from them, she was slowly and carefully introduced to people she had never met before. New people made her nervous, and so did being touched, but tasty treats certainly helped!
After working with her in this capacity for months, Dolly’s behavior was evaluated, and she had such incredible strides! But the behavior team knew their work wasn’t quite done. Dolly remained on a behavior modification program aimed at making her more comfortable around new people and new experiences. Dolly quickly came around to trying new things, but was still frightened when meeting new friends.
Because they had spent so much time working one-on-one with Dolly, the behavior team realized that she was more comfortable around new people if they waited to touch her until she felt ready. Dolly loved pets and attention, but only once she was comfortable enough with the person to accept them.
Our staff also learned what activity Dolly enjoyed the most – walks! Now, Dolly gets SO excited when a dog walker volunteer shows up at her kennel when it’s time for a walk around the farm. Dolly is available for adoption, and looking for a family that understands her needs and behavior. She loves other dogs, and would be thrilled to meet your resident pups!
Update: Dolly has been adopted! We can tell by the smile on her face (and her new family!) that she’s in for a wonderful life.
Learn more about adopting Dolly: lollypop.org/dogs
See which of our training classes are currently enrolling: lollypop.org/behavior/behavior-training-classes
Walk in honor of pets like Dolly in Barktober Fest Walk for the Animals: lollypop.org/bfest