Rosie’s owner wanted to come and work with us for the day to get some help with her anxiety and reactivity towards other dogs.
After having some close calls with other dogs this has left Rosie anxious and fearful in the presence of other dogs. In one instance her owner had to pick her up above his head while an out of control dog was jumping up to try and bite her.
When we got one of our own dogs out to take a look at what was going on Rosie was clearly fearful and had no idea how to respond or communicate appropriately. There’s a lot of talk going around at the moment about how dogs shouldn’t have ‘dog friends’ and there is of course truth in the utility in that. However, it is imperative than dogs learn correct social skills, can interact calmly, and don’t feel anxious, unsure, or worried in the presence of other dogs.
In Rosie’s case she get’s hugely worried when in the presence of another dog and in order to truly counter-condition that response, it’s imperative that she has interactions with appropriate dogs to paint a different association and picture in her mind. Getting her to focus on her owner and pretend like the dog doesn’t exist simply falls completely apart when having to interact with either an off leash dog, a friends dog at a BBQ, at a dog event, or bringing another dog into the home.
Throughout Rosie’s session we exposed her to our own dog in different scenarios, thresholds and difficulties. Both on and off leash. By managing the interactions appropriately, we were able to identify triggers, introduce interruptors, and apply rewards for correct behaviours. And, for the first time, Rosie was able to function calmly off leash with another off leash dog in a secure and controlled environment.
Our dogs are depending on us to make the best possible decisions for them, and it’s super important to understand what you’re looking at. We’re going to be working closely with Rosie and her owner moving forwards and educating them on everything from drives to control and handling to ensure they become the very best they can be.
Good work guys and see you again soon!