About Rescue Bouviers

Bouviers end up in rescue for many reasons through no fault of their own. A common situation for a Bouvier in our rescue program involves an owner who dies or due to health reasons, is no longer able to care for the dog. Sometimes families move, including overseas, and are unable or unwilling to take their Bouvier along. Often, people buy a Bouvier without thinking about the long-term commitment. Many people decide to breed their Bouvier without a real understanding of the work and money involved or the responsibility required to do it right. Some new owners just do not know how to take care of a dog, and then there are some Bouviers that come to us from abusive situations. Some of our rescues have come from shelters, picked up as strays and then not claimed.

Oftentimes, Bouviers in rescue have received little, if any, training. This is one of the primary mistakes new Bouvier owners make. As a result, Bouviers coming into rescue might be exhibiting herding behavior, many times with small children as the recipients of their work. Herding—interpreted as chasing—might be accompanied by nipping at heels, or bottoms, particularly if the “herdee” is running and screeching. Again, because of the Bouvier’s lineage as a protector of the flock, they can exhibit protective behavior, including barking or growling at strangers or other visitors to the home. Many Bouviers have high prey drives, resulting in the desire to chase, and sometimes kill, small animals such as squirrels, rabbits, and, yes, cats. Resource guarding of food bowls or items is also not uncommon. Socialization of the Bouvier puppy is critically important; for in those dogs not properly socialized, we often see extremely timid and fearful dogs, who either withdraw when afraid, or lash out. And some Bouviers in rescue might have health problems due to neglect, genetics or for other reasons. These could include hip problems, heartworm disease, intestinal parasites, or allergies. We also see just as many grossly overweight Bouviers as we do underweight.

Fortunately, the ABRL has a network of knowledgeable volunteers and experts who are available to assist in troubleshooting when we are faced with these kinds of issues.