Rafa the long termer (rehomed!)
www.ncar.org.uk/portfolio/rafa/

Behaviourist notes; Rafa has been at the rescue for several years now which indicates he has issues which make rehoming him a little more difficult than the average rescue dog. I spent some time with him to study his behaviour and issues to asses what is required to increase his chances of being rehomed.
Rafa's main problem isn't entirely his, people's predisposed ideas of him often cause conflict points. Rafa is unsure of new situations and needs time to work them out and then become comfortable and relax, this includes meeting new people. Ideally he'd like to approach people on his own terms, sniff them, check them out then decide whether he'd like to interact with them (as in be fussed and stroked by them), usually people don't give Rafa this chance and come straight in to shower him with affection, this scares him and he then acts defensively, freezing, growling then maybe snapping. Rafa is a very clever dog and is very astute is recognising when people are unsure or hesitant around him and quite rightly doesn't want to interact with them, he loves calm confident people. He isn't a lapdog, what he wants in life is good long calm walks where he can take his time and explore, some training to give his sharp brain a work out, then just relax either on his own or around the family. What he doesn't want is to be sat in people's laps getting fussed all the time. Once he is relaxed and comfortable around a person (as in, once he's built up trust in them) he is happy to sit in their lap for a fuss, but this is mainly for the person's benefit, not Rafa's. He is more than happy to sit next to you, so long as you don't constantly stroke him.
He does like to test boundaries you set him, he's only making sure you know what you are doing in regards to being a trustworthy consistent companion, usually this means him not getting off furniture when asked, but calm consistent positive work will prove to Rafa you are worth listening to.
Once he is sure you are a calm relaxed confident dog owner he himself becomes a calm relaxed confident dog and a fantastic companion.
All he needs is somebody who is willing to put in some time and effort to help him achieve this. Unfortunately, due to his cute looks, most people interested in him just want a cuddly lapdog to smoother, where as Rafa just want's to be a proper dog where affection is a bonus after a day of exploring and working.
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