Ashley is a very sensitive dog that exhibits feral like behaviors. Ashley has been in two rescue facilities, adopted once and then returned.
•Dominant behavior and marking
•Overly possessive of people, objects and food
•Unhealthy submissive behavior
These are some of the most common behavior issues that get in the way of people being able to enjoy their pets. These issues can stress the bonding relationship between the owner and dog making it unpleasant, or down right unbearable, instead of fun and fulfilling. The good news is that most behavior issues can be changed, if they are properly addressed.
A story I often tell is about a boxer named Bella. Bella was raised from a puppy by her owners who loved and cared for her. Everyday Bella would go along with her owners to their business where she would hang out in the office and socialize with 15 employees. As Bella was maturing, she began developing sensitivities such as acting nervous in the car.
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Over the years I have periodically boarded Bella. She is a wonderful comical dog and a pleasure to have at my kennel. You would never guess that she once had such severe issues. Not all dogs respond as quickly and completely as Bella did. This story exemplifies that providing an enriched environment that meets our pet's needs will change how they feel and interact with their human world. The ultimate goal is to work with our dogs to help them become more regulated, more resilient, more curious, eager to learn and more capable of social interaction.
Home life was spiraling out of control as well. The family was very actively involved with the neighborhood kids, and it got so they couldn’t be around Bella anymore for fear of being bit.
Our next challenge was training the family and employees at the business to continue Bella’s rehabilitation. We decided to do a trial test to see if it would work, and it did. Everybody was amazed at the change in Bella, and this encouraged everyone to listen to the instructions and participate.
At the business Bella started growling and acting strange around the employees and at anything new like UPS boxes placed on the floor leading into the office. One day Bella took notice of the wall clock in the hallway near the office. This appeared to be the first time Bella heard it ticking. From that point on Bella avoided the clock and at times had to be dragged past it. Issues like these were escalating to the point that her owners were concerned she might bite an employee.
At this point Bella was brought to my facility. If I couldn’t help, then Bella would be put down. I started building a relationship with her as well as structuring a daily routine of hiking, calming techniques, focusing exercises, desensitizing-exposure therapy. It didn’t take long to shift her moods, emotions and behaviors from fearful and aggressive, to curious and explorative. In just a few weeks Bella was getting back to the fun and comical boxer that she used to be as a pup.
A month later Bella was brought back to my facility to continue her training. I noticed that Bella acted confused and flighty when I approached her and she wouldn't come when called. On further investigation the cause turned out to be a game of “chase the dog” that the kids were playing with her. After we addressed this and a few minor issues, Bella became a well-balanced dog.