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Podengo Central

A place for Podengo owners and fanciers to share information and research the breed in a topical manner. Supported by the APPMGC & APPPC

    Looking after a rescued Podengo

    james ensor
    james ensor

    Posts : 154
    Join date : 2012-02-01
    Location : London, England

    Looking after a rescued Podengo

    Post  james ensor on Sun Dec 02, 2018 3:21 am

    More and more dogs are being rescued from Latin countries to English-speaking ones.  There is a growing trickle of dogs coming from Spain and Portugal to Britain. From watching Cesar Milan I deduce that there is a similar flow from Mexico into the US and Canada. I would be surprised if the same thing did not occur from the Philippines and Papua-New Guinea into Australia and New Zealand.

    Some of these dogs are Podengos. Many more are mongrels with some Podengo characteristics.   I know of three such rescues.  A Podengo Grande was rescued by a Swiss lady who found her chained to a post under a hot sun in the Algarve, Portugal, and stole her away. walking through a pine forest in flip-flops.  A Podengo Pequeno was rescued by a South African couple in Cape Verde, but cruelly poisoned when they left him to go on holiday, in the care of an ignorant friend. We rescued Maria, a Podengo Medio, who arrived on the day after Christmas.

    Many new owners do not recognize that they have acquired a Podengo. We only knew for sure, once we took Maria to Portugal and met many others, whom she recognized as kin. Owners are often told that they have some curious terrier-cross.  But a few come to this website, as I did, to discover what really are the genes in their dog. Though I am no Cesar Milan,perhaps I can give a little help from my own experience.

    Podengos are more difficult to look after than other dogs.  Their extreme hunting instinct makes them totally ignore commands when there is prey about. They will catch rabbits and squirrels and kill them with silent efficiency.  They will chase foxes and cats - even leaping onto roofs as they give chase.  Until they learn better, they will chase flocks of seabirds. As a rescue they are unlikely to have learned commands, at all - and certainly not in English.

    Podengos chase more enthusiastically than most other dogs. They will run a mile or two upwind after a scent. We only knew where Maria was from watching the distant birds rising up off the beach a couple of miles away.  This does not matter on a beach, but in an urban environment with traffic about, Podengos must always be on a leash.

    Maria was once in parkland in France, when she ran out through an open gate and across a road.  Returning at perhaps 25 mph she ran straight into the side of a Mercedes station wagon, driving at a similar speed. Thanks to her incredible agility, she managed to turn sideways. and absorbed the blow with  a sickening thud, but without damage to herself or the car. Just as incredibly the driver was an expat Englishman who was profusely apologetic for what had been our error of judgment.

    Rescue dogs have often had to forage to survive. Podengos with their excellent sense of smell are masters at this. They can find food where no other dog can.  Sometimes this leaves personality traits that can be problematic.  Maria will run up to any woman and some men who are carrying food, sit down and beg. Jet (a part-Podengo, in the avatar) would raid picnics or sit for hours with her sister Niki beside the table of dining tourists.  Others would raid barbecues to steal hamburgers or knock over dumpsters (collaborating with other dogs) to steal discarded food.

    This produces problems, for the dog`s stomachs but more seriously with other people. Because they are so fast and agile, Podengos are remarkably good thieves. They can find discarded food, which other dogs miss. Rescue dogs are more likely to steal than those who have been fed regularly as puppies. So when there is food about, they need to be on the leash.

    There can be more serious problems for the dog`s psyche, if humans have reacted badly to them in the past.  Many Latinos pick up a stick when they see a dog; so do some Germans.  A rescued dog that has  encountered such behavior may cringe whenever you lift a stick.  More seriously he may circle, anyone who picks up a stick, barking continuously.  He may remember shouting in another language during an attack -Spanish, Portuguese or German - and react badly when he hears it again. He may react badly to particular smells - cigar tobacco or cannabis - which he associates with the louts that attacked him.

    Harm can be done very early in life. Four tiny puppies, barely weeks old, weak and starving, were chased by a German with a carving knife, who  objected to their droppings - which were the size of a pea. When they were rescued, they were so scared of humans that one urinated, one defecated and one bit.

    Maria, normally loving and affectionate, struggles violently when picked up near water. We deduce that someone tried to drown her by throwing her into the sea. Many of the rescue dogs that we have met are terrified of the sea.  Hopefully your rescued Podengo will not have met such evil people. But you do need to be on the look-out for trauma-induced character traits and guard against them, if necessary with a muzzle and certainly with a leash.

    They can be cured, over time, ideally with a therapy that changes the association to a positive one by using treats - for example by getting a man with a stick (it is invariably men) gingerly to drop treats in front of a dog held securely on a leash, to cure a stick phobia.

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