Dog Observations: Memphis (Part 1)

(The following is a 3-parter, about my observations of a Refuge dog. This is part of my current coursework for the ISCP Diploma in Canine Psychology. I have taken out any information of a sensitive nature, for confidential reasons).

For this assignment, I’m using the example of Memphis, a dog from the Refuge where I volunteer. Memphis was adopted in November 2015, so this account is retrospective. At the Refuge, I’m a Dog Walker as well as a Canine Carer, however, at the time I got to know and work with Memphis, I had not been inducted as a Dog Walker yet, so my experience with him is based solely on what I observed as a Canine Carer.

I’ve taken and modified the ISCP’s Case History template, to better answer this question:

Date of sessions : September – November 2015

Number of sessions in total : 10

Name of the dog : Memphis

Breed : Rhodesian Ridgeback Cross

Age : 2

Gender : Male
Is the dog neutered/spayed? : Desexed

Length of time owned, or in rescue kennels : 3 months at the Refuge

Who is the main carer for the dog? : Kennel hands are the main carers. Volunteer Canine Carers are allowed to enter the kennel and and interact with the dog.

Are there any other animals living in the environment, or visiting regularly? If so, how does the dog respond/react to them? : Memphis’ kennel run is part of a larger building, consisting of 20 runs, 10 on each side connected by an inside corridor. Access by Staff and Volunteers is via the inside corridor. Visitors are able to view the dogs from the outside of the runs, on both sides of the building. At the time of these sessions with Memphis, the only dog in close proximity to him was Otto, a young mixed breed dog. Memphis and Otto could see and touch each other’s noses, if they stood on their hind legs and reached through the chain-link wire fence between their runs. In all my sessions with both Memphis and Otto, neither ever showed any aggression towards the other. Although, I did observe that when I was with Memphis, Otto would often jump up and down clamouring for my attention, sometimes vocalising; and when I was with Otto, Memphis would do likewise.

Amount of daily exercise, and where this occurs : All dogs at the Refuge get taken out for a walk and/or yard time every day. Depending on the number of volunteer Dog Walkers, sometimes the dogs could go out up to 3 times a day. Each walking session or yard time is between 30-45 minutes duration. If the weather is too warm, and temperatures reach 35 degrees or more, dogs are not to be walked, but can have extra time playing in the yard. The Refuge has a dozen yards, of varying sizes – some are modified for fence jumpers, some are smaller for small dogs, there’s also one large yard with agility obstacles such as ramps, weaving poles and hurdles.


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