Today we’ve had Pablo the German Shepherd in for his first ever session with us. It’s safe to say he’s had a far less than ideal start in life before finding his new owner, and we knew we’d have a difficult case on our hands with this one.
Pablo’s owner had rehomed him from some ‘questionable characters’ living in a block of high-rise flats and has been highly reactive to people and dogs since day one. He’s unfortunately attacked his owner twice, biting her multiple times without real cause, and needs to be taken to a private paddock to exercise him where he won’t need to interact with other people or dogs.
A lot of trainers will actively avoid working with dogs like Pablo because they either aren’t comfortable working with real reactivity or think ‘aggressive’ dogs should simply just be put to sleep. He’s been deemed as ‘neurologically damaged’ and has previously been refused by a German Shepherd Rescue due to his behaviour and their lack of ability to get near him. He’s also been advised to be put to sleep because of his problems.
Prior to our session with Pablo he has had 9 training sessions with another behaviourist who wasn’t able to handle, walk or feed him over that period. Within just 2-hours of being with him today, he was taking food willingly and accepting of being walked and handled (video in comments), something nobody outside of the family has been able to achieve in all the time they’ve had him.
Pablo has some very complex trust issues with other people and his lack of adequate socialisation and appropriate handling from his previous owners has resulted in a perfect storm of anxiety based reactivity, with the confidence to follow through if challenged.
We will be working very closely with Pablo going forwards and our focus will be on building a mutual relationship to improve his confidence and association with people.
Well done to Pablo’s owner for sticking by a dog who most would have had put to sleep a long time ago. The work and dedication she’s put into Pablo is really admirable and she’s sacrificed so much to get Pablo to where he is today.
You will reap the rewards in the end, we promise you that.