Mollie’s owner contacted us for help with her reactivity towards other dogs after having months of not being able to take her anywhere and getting dragged across roads at the sight of other dogs. She’s seen multiple trainers but with no meaningful or consistent results.
After speaking with her owner about her issues and background, it’s no surprise that she’s been behaving the way she has been. She was rescued from an unsafe home, crated with cats at 6-weeks-old, and been neglected of the typical socialisation puppies in a littler will and should receive.
We addressed her leash pulling first and foremost as is standard with most of our sessions as pulling only leads to the dog getting over-excited and stressed out. Within probably 5-minutes she was walking like a dream and offering eye contact really nicely.
Next we took a look at her response with our own dogs and she was displaying textbook frustrated greeting. Because she was denied the typical upbringing within a litter, she was taken to a dog day care and allowed to play to her hearts content until she was excluded for being too boisterous.
Because she hasn’t learnt appropriate social skills at a young age, she will have been over-excitable and over-aroused in the day care environment. Because she will have approached every dog with the intention of explosive and wild play, when she see’s a dog out on walks her frustration about not being able to play takes control of her and leads to pulling, barking and snarling.
We got to work with one of our own dogs and she was awesome within no time. She was actually so good we decided to up the ante and take her to the local park and see how she’d manage. This was one of three times she’d been to a park in about 6 months due to her reactivity.
Due to it being Good Friday it was absolutely heaving, but we pushed forward and took on the challenge. When the environment got busier with off leash dogs, children, and groups of people, the added stressors began to show in her stress levels. Stress is almost always going to push reactive behaviour up as it just adds fuel to the fire.
We worked Mollie through the busy environment and although she had a few wobbles here and there, she did really really well. Now her owner has the knowledge and confidence to get her back out into the real world she can begin building her confidence to stressors in the environment and condition a better response around dogs.
Really good work today guys, put that natural feel to good use moving forwards!