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7 Dogs Who Bite- YIKES!! How CHR handles fear reactive rescue dogs!

7 out of the 12 dogs in our foster program have bitten before.

That is a high figure when it comes to the logistics of managing our rescue dogs to ensure the public and the foster parents do not get harmed while fostering for CHR.

As a public animal rescue, CHR has a responsibility to keep the public, our rescue dogs and our foster parents safe. It’s the number one reason we started our “Paws of Zen” rehabilitation program. This rehabilitation program allows us to use positive reinforcement strategies to change snapping behavior to better behavior.

Understanding management of the special rescue dog is equally important to our training program for new adopters. Avoiding scenarios that could cause the rescue dog to snap is critical to their rehabilitation. As experienced dog handlers, we know that dogs can go through a “honeymoon period” the first month of their stay in a new home. You hear about it all the time, “My dog never showed this behavior the first few weeks he was with me,” and then WHAMO, the bad behavior hits you.

By allowing dogs to decompress in our foster program, we are able to closely monitor any concerning behaviors that may come up and we deal with those behaviors head-on with a management and behavioral plan suited to the rescue dog’s needs. But CHR not only thinks of “the now.” We also think about the future needs of the rescue dog and their owner’s capacity to handle the rescue dog’s behavioral needs. This is why our dog adopters are provided with an outlined behavioral plan for any special rescue case we have. Providing the new adopter with a detailed behavioral plan outlining the training plan needed to desensitize and counter-condition those bad behaviors ensures that our rescue dogs go to homes where the new owner has a full understanding of their new dog and a plan in place in case problems arise.

In this Newsletter, we would like to share a few of our special behavioral cases. We want all of our supporters to know that we will go to the moon and back for our dogs. We hope that our special training efforts demonstrate our philosophy that every dog has unique needs and feelings and should be treated as individuals who deserve to be understood and cared for properly.

We also hope that as you read about these special dogs that you will find compassion to help them on their journey. One way you can do this is by donating to help provide some of the dogs with special natural behavioral supplements such as Zylkene, L-theanine and SAM-e. These over-the-counter supplements help to reduce canine anxiety, and are used regularly for many of our special rescue dogs.

Donating for any of these supplements will GREATLY help. Donate and we will mention you in a special post on our FB page with your permission. Our mailing address is below if you would like to order and send us the supplements directly or if you prefer making a donation specifically for the supplements, specify that in the comments section of the donation page when donating securely online here-

Supplements Needed- Note: CHR does not endorse any pharmaceutical or over-the-counter medications without guidance from a licensed Vet.

CHR Mailing Address-

Caring Hearts Rescue

P.O. Box 6592

Springfield, VA 22150



Peanut came to CHR from a Maryland Shelter. Peanut bit a shelter representative and snapped at several other employees. Because of his behavioral issues, the shelter was unable to adopt him out to the public. Thankfully, CHR has a few patient and kind-hearted foster parents to step up for cases like Peanut. Peanut has been with CHR for few months now and he’s really relaxing around his foster parent. Because of his bite history, CHR is taking extra steps to ensure we fully understand the extent of his behavioral problems.

In the next month, CHR volunteers will test Peanut out in various scenarios so we can get a better idea of what triggers make him uncomfortable to the point of snapping. Peanut’s health is also a major priority to CHR. With your support, Peanut was recently seen by a cardiologist to have an ultrasound and ECG performed. He was diagnosed with a sinus arrhythmia. He’ll also be going in for a dental soon. By making sure Peanut’s health is in tip top shape, we reduce the chances of a health issue playing a part in the triggers that elicit a bad behavioral response from Peanut.



Bodhi came to CHR last month when he was surrendered by his owner.

We knew right away Bodhi had a lot of anxiety issues. This was obviously the reason his owner surrendered him. Most people cannot take on the behavioral needs of dogs like Bodhi or they only can deal with problem behaviors for a short time. This is why it's critical for us to understand and treat the rescue dog with the right course of behavioral support. Bodhi has bitten all the members in his foster home.

We've placed Bodhi on several medications to help reduce his fear biting and his foster parents understand that the men in the household must give him lots of space but this just wasn't enough for Bodhi's behavioral needs. When a fear biting dog like Bodhi comes into CHR, we must be proactive in dealing with the behavioral problems head-on.

Bodhi recently had a behavior assessment by Dr. Pike-DVM, DACVB, IAABC-CABC, who is a Canine Behaviorist. A Canine Behavioral is one who specializes in canine behavior. Bodhi was placed on several medications to support his behavior plan. With a training plan in place, Bodhi will continue to learn to trust people. With a treatment plan in place from Dr. Pike, Bodhi's anxiety will begin to reduce over time. We're already seeing small improvements in his behavior.

The monthly pharmaceutical and natural supplements to treat Bodhi's behavioral needs cost CHR $100 monthly.



Benji came to CHR during the Fall of 2017. He was confiscated

from his previous owners by animal control due to neglect.

Because of his behavioral issues, the shelter was unable to adopt him out to the public. Benji had obvious signs of neglect due to obvious skin ailments, past flea infestation, infections and serious dental disease but his emotional wounds were much deeper. It was yet again, heartbreaking to see what these poor dogs go through.

Benji was fear reactive when handled by people. He would growl a warning or snap at anyone trying to lift him or mess with any part of his body. The first few months of his foster stay was filled with only positive handling strategies. As the months passed, Benji’s foster mom was provided with a lot of consultations from our dog trainer on how to confront any “growly behavior.” The trainer advised her to focus on providing Benji’s day with kindness and lots of “good stuff” we know dogs love. Benji was placed on natural supplements to help reduce his anxiety to being handled.

His training sessions were conducted slowly and at a pace he was comfortable with. After a few months, Benji was taken into our fabulous Vet at Crosspointe Hospital to have a dental and hernia repair. Making sure Benji was healthy from head to paw was important to rule out the concern of pain causing an adverse behavioral response on Benji’s part. After his surgery was complete, it was back to work on helping Benji overcome his fear of being handled. His transformation has been nothing less than amazing and we applaud his foster mom for the level of care and training she has provided this little boy.

Benji improved as the weeks passed and then he met a potential applicant with a super big heart who fostered Benji for a month to see his behaviors first hand before adopting him. This special person named Genevieve saw firsthand that Benji had his moments but with patience and kindness she gave him space, never forcing him into a scenario that he could not handle. We provided Genevieve with a training plan and the techniques to get her started on Benji’s training. She continues to work with Benji on certain behavioral concerns but one major concern still exists for Benji. He has an aggressive response to being groomed. Benji turns into killer Cujo when you try to groom him. Groomers will not groom a dog that viciously attacks when you try to trim them with scissors or clippers.

We provided Genevieve with 2 prescription sedatives to help reduce Benji’s extreme aggression to grooming. We also promised to have our groomer trim and work with Benji for life, if needed.

By ensuring Benji’s behavioral problems were fully understood and by providing his new mom with future training and grooming aid, we feel confident that Benji will always be safe and his mom feels comfortable with having Benji’s grooming needs completely covered. Anticipating problems and finding solutions is a responsibility of our rescue team. A new life awaits Benji now; one filled with love and kindness and the respect he was owed a long time ago.



Handsome Tucker is quite the playboy. However, Tucker was

originally surrendered to CHR for snapping at children and disliking other dogs. His good looks and frisky personality easily lure you in and you fall in love and then WHAMO, a bite happens. This is what recently happened when we placed Tucker with a new owner who was fostering Tucker to see if he fit into her world. CHR provided his new owner with a detailed behavioral plan and consultation with a dog trainer but the biting incidents still happened!

While Tucker never showed any serious biting behavior in his former home, the biting incidents with this trial adopter convinced us that we needed to find a more experienced and educated dog owner for him. CHR put Tucker on several holistic supplements to aid in controlling Tucker's nervous nature. In our second attempt to place Tucker in a forever home, we made sure to carefully analyze every scenario that could cause Tucker to become over excited, which could lead to a bite.

His new potential owner was given a detailed plan to avoid any of the triggers that caused him to bite in the first trial home. We let Tucker foster with his new mom a few weeks prior to his adoption. The results of having a detailed behavioral training plan is place has been amazing.

CHR has been in close contact with Tucker's new family to ensure they understand all of his behavioral needs. Because Tucker also has a history of resource guarding, CHR will provide his new owner with future free dog training consultations to ensure all residents in his new home are kept safe and happy.

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