Saturday I had the pleasure of working with Poppy, who is a 20mth old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Helping her owners with general manners, jumping up at visitors and guests, over excitement, fussy eating, pulling on the lead, running in circles, chasing the neighbour’s cat, barking at aeroplanes, birds and the neighbour’s dog, scratching at the door, demanding attention and going up on the back of the sofa.
She was an absolute pleasure to work with and is a very sensitive and intelligent dog, who had her owners well trained. However with some simple changes to communication, interactions and reactions and some lovely mental stimulation games to teach useful tools Poppy turned out to be a delightful dog, who is actually happy to settle on the floor and to work with and listen to her owners, to the point where her owners invited me to move in.
What a lovely afternoon we all had and it was a pleasure to be able to work outside in the sunshine.
Both of these dogs are very nervous and wary of strangers.
Unfortunately Puggsy has recently become more and more stressed on walks, barking at cars, trying to get in the road, barking at students at their owners parents’ house, going crazy at the doorbell and the neighbours at the fence in the garden, always on a heightened state of alert pulling on the lead, demanding food and attention, jumping all over the sofas.
Poppy is very introvert and is very nervous of other dogs after being chased by 3 dogs. She is too scared to go the toilet outside the house which means she won’t do her “business” in the garden or out on walks.
This is because she is feeding off Puggsy’s stress levels, she doesn’t find the walks an enjoyable experience and will hide when the lead comes out, and has quite negative feelings about the lead and going out because she is feeding off all his stress levels. She finds the garden a very stressful place to be.
So it was really lovely to Puggsy and Poppy come out of their shells yesterday and overcome their nervousness, and for me to build their confidence giving them some clear rules and boundaries with their owner, clear communication signals and helping their owners really understand how their dogs felt about certain things.
It was wonderful to see them all suddenly having a mutual respect and realisation about how their dogs feel and for their dogs to be respectful and vice versa. That should give them useful tools to get their dogs working with them and no longer stressed.
We had a lovely time out in the garden, even with the neighbours on both sides out in their gardens, with their dogs actually relaxed, playing and becoming less affected by the noises next door.
It was a super day and we had a lovely afternoon, I look forward to the next session and to see how they have come on.