It can be very difficult to take a dog from a hunting environment and put them into a suburban household, but for dogs to be successful in their new homes, they must make this transition. This photodocumentary shows the most important parts of the process of suburbanization.
This is Toby pre-rescue. He lived in an outdoor pen with three other hunting beagles.
Our task was to make sure Toby became acclimated to his new environment by achieving the key competencies required of all suburban dogs.
Competency 1: Communication
It is important for all of our foster dogs to multitask, so dogs should be trained to use tools for this purpose. In the pictures below, you see Toby taking his very first phone message. Later, he will learn to do some simple calculations on the calculator. This is an invaluable skill for dogs trying to order a pizza and needing to add on a tip, or for dogs evaluating a phone solicitation concerning mortgage refinancing.
Competency 2: Self-improvement
In this picture, Toby is listening to a subliminal self-help tape on “Getting to Yes: How to Obtain More Treats With Less Effort.”
Competency 3: Socialization
In this picture, Toby is getting out a board game so he and the neighbors can enjoy the weekly “Game Night.” This is daunting for Toby who is very shy and was quite at a loss when he found that he couldn’t use his nose to sniff out the guilty party in Clue (he will later comment that this was quite unrealistic). However, Toby’s foster will find that by putting the bowl of party mix directly next to Toby, he remains at the table for the duration of the evening.
Competency 4: Assisted Relaxation
In this picture, we see that after a busy day as a suburban dog, Toby is relaxing by watching some C-SPAN, or perhaps one of the Shiloh videos. His foster will find him soon after, curled up and asleep, his remote tucked into his paws. She’ll then wake him up gently and take him off to his bed so he can get a good night’s sleep before his next big day. After that, he’ll fall back asleep dreaming of tomorrow’s Starbucks decaf gingerbread latte with soymilk and a low-fat muffin, and he’ll say a little prayer that he’s able to get his Wi-Fi connection working.
Another dog has been successfully suburbanized.
This essay originally was posted on our rescue’s web site. It has been edited and updated. All pictures are the author’s.