Today I headed of for what I thought was going to be a really testing 121 with a border collie called Wilbur. Wilbur is a re-homed dog and came with a full behaviour report, how nice. Some of Wilbur’s behaviours had been wrongly diagnosed though, more on that later. His owners called me in to help with behaviours that a whole host of people’s advice and internet searching had not resolved. The owners were at their wits end and as I pulled up outside the property in Kettering, Northampton my thoughts were not of Wilbur’s past, but his new future now that I had been called in.
Upon entering the property Wilbur’s owners had shut him away and without any further explanations for this, or informing they were just going to let him out, giving me a chance of a assessment with Wilbur on my terms, he appeared and took to smelling my treat bag hanging on my side intently. “So we have a food driven dog here maybe!” I was actually thankful for his owners doing this on this occasion, because Wilbur had bitten before so gave me a good chance of assessing him with visitors and so the consultation began.
We Alll Sat In A Small Office..!
We carried out the history taking in a little office room, and this was based around that Wilbur had started to display negative behaviours whilst in the living room. Poor advice had led to Wilbur becoming more anxious in this room, bit it wasn’t the owners fault, they followed advice. Whilst taking the history it also gave me an opportunity to assess Wilbur’s behaviour and very quickly I made a list, here it is in short form.
Just A Few Issues Then..!
Restlessness backed up by hyperactivity
Fear and anxiety issues
Under mentally stimulated
Stereotype behaviours from being kept in kennels
Obsessional state of mind around flashing lights
Under exercised due to lack of recall ( current owners working on this)
Motivation to chew intently
And so on. So where do you start with a dog with so many different states of behaviour and mind states. Well individually looking at each one and teaching the understanding of the hows and why’s Wilbur was displaying these behaviours. I then help clients to recognise these behaviours and implement my proven techniques to communicate with the dog on their level of understanding to start eliminating and training for balance.
Wilbur Didn’t Know The Meaning Of Relaxation
I knew I had to start work with Wilbur immediately. So I started on the hyperactivity. I needed Wilbur to experience what calm was and surrender to it, instead of fighting it and staying hyperactive. Wilbur had never embraced calm, he fought it, why? Because, most re homed dogs condition themselves to stay alert and to be most seen. Wilbur needed to be centre of attention and for any split second his owners ignored his attention seeking behaviours, heightened vocalisation would follow because that would definitely work, which was given in the way of growls and barks. Sorry Wilbur you got nothing from me for doing that. But Wilbur did start to quickly learn using my leadership programme what would get some affection.
Now For The Living Room
Next it was onto what the living room represented. I opened the door and entered, no negative signs entering, however upon walking towards the patio doors, Wilbur wanted his fix. His state of alert went off the rictor scale, he thought and hoped light reflections were around to chase. (Something he has repeatedly done in the garden) We worked on this and dampened down a lot of his obsessional state of mind around chasing these stimulus. Although some people like to watch a dog chasing torch beams, laser or other reflective images, I truly believe it induces a very negative behaviour in dogs. Leaving a dog on constant look out for these stimulus to appear to chase at any given time, so over a period it manifests to obsession.
Time For My Leadership Programme For Balance
Advice and demonstrations were given on all areas I have mentioned during this article and more, this made the consultation a little intensive and that’s why I will be working closely with Wilbur’s owners to make sure they achieve balance with their dog. But more importantly why I don’t and never will do time limits with any of my dog behaviour consultations.
Point To Note On Re-Homed Dogs
If you are considering taking on a rescue dog, be prepared for a 2-4 week period of first getting the dog where it will seem that you have the perfect dog in a lot of cases. Then from no where a whole host of behaviours can pop out in the dog. Seek advice from a behaviourist as soon as you get a rescue dog to implement a good leadership programme to help the dog achieve a good balanced life. I’m afraid lots of love and affection won’t help a rescue dog, it will only make matters worse for them in a lot of cases. I get it though why you would want to do that!
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