The Soft Touch
Molding “hard” dogs into “soft” dogs may be easier than you think—and it also saves lives
Peering from the kennel she’s occupied for weeks, Lizzy, a black-and-tan adolescent Doberman mix, watches and waits anxiously for the next human to walk through the door.
Lucky for her, that human turns out to be one of the shelter’s best volunteers, which means Lizzy might get to go for a walk today. She doesn’t always: He’s one of the few people willing to walk Lizzy, simply because she is so difficult to handle.
After watching other lucky dogs pass by her kennel—each headed out for a walk—Lizzy finally gets what she wants. The volunteer pauses at her kennel. Lizzy is so excited she’s ready to burst!
The volunteer gives Lizzy a hesitant look, then reaches down and unlatches the kennel door, saying, “OK, Lizzy, let’s do this.”
Once he’s slipped into the kennel, the volunteer knows what he’s in for. He turns his back to Lizzy, who is so happy to have human contact that she leaps for joy, unintentionally scratching his back. He quietly ignores the pain, and after a few minutes of wrestling with Lizzy, is finally successful in clipping the leash to her collar. He gently lifts the latch to the kennel door, and before he has a chance to open it, Lizzy’s pushing it open. She’s off and running, hauling him down the aisle, out the door, and across the shelter grounds.