Behaviour modification with anxious dog

Here is Boswell the cocker spaniel, a dog that the vets suggested putting to sleep many times due to his anxious aggressive behaviour. My clients did not want to give up on him and refused to listen to the vets. 

We came together and made a plan to resolve this lovely dog many, many issues. From terrible anxiety, fear-based aggression towards dogs, fear-based aggression towards humans, resource guarding of objects people and areas, movement sensitivity, sound sensitivity, obsessive behaviours, unwanted prey/chase drive and complete lack of confidence just to name a few! Vet visits were just completely traumatic and were making his reaction worse year on year every time he went in. 

We worked hard to understand is triggers and carry out behaviour modification for each of them one at a time. 

We are happy to say that our clients and visitors are no longer being attacked by Boswell and today we managed to walk into the house, sit down on the sofa and complete a training session with him totally off the lead. He then went on to relax enough to play and eat the food we had in the enrichment toys. One of the many signs of improvement we look for in a dog’s body language is nose down and their eyes off the triggers. Sometimes an interactive game with Boswell with a big wagging tail was a great ‘win’ for that week’s training.  

It’s been months working with this lovely dog, we have had our ups and downs but we have had a really great past few weeks and are now on a steady road to having a MUCH happier, confident and relaxed pooch! Behavioural therapy sometimes takes time and there is still a long way to go but it is well worth the patience that these loving owners have had. 

You can see in this short video how anxious Boswell is with just my presence. Look at his body language and see how hesitant he is to come forward and approach the snuffle mat. We set up some ‘free work’ in the living room so he could sniff out the treats in his own time, occasionally taking a treat from my hand too. We did however get the owner to keep a loose lead and harness on him purely for my safety as he had a bite history towards visitors.

They have been so grateful for our support, kind words, clear explanation of his behaviours and a specialised training plan to enable them to have a more relaxed household. 

He will certainly not be put down and is a much happier dog already. Hurrah! This really makes our job worthwhile.

Well done Boswell!

Adelaide Stewart-Jones BSc (Hons) IMDT

Dog Behaviourist and Accredited Trainer

The Confident K9 Limited

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