Buddy is a 2yr old Cattle Dog x, it is fair to say he has had a pretty rough start to life. He was removed from his littler at 6 weeks old as he was unfortunately born into the home of an animal hoarder. Then in the first couple of years to his life he also jumped around a few homes. Luckily for him his new owner came across him at the same time she was looking to add a dog to her life and decided he was the one for her. When she got Buddy she was aware he came with a few problems and that a dog trainer would be the best way to find out how to help Buddy.
After only having him for a short period of time his owner realised she had more than a couple of problems on her hands. Buddy was an escape artist! He managed to make his way from Sunshine Beach to Peregian on one expedition!
She promptly booked Buddy in for desexing, then called me to get some professional help to get on top of these problem behaviours before Buddy was either lost for good or injured. She knew the investment into a dog trainer was going to be invaluable.
On meeting Buddy, and having an in depth conversation with his owner, it was clear there was more than just an escaping issue. Buddy was also showing signs of separation anxiety, impulse control issues around the cats in the family, excitedly greeting people and jumping all over them, pulling on lead when walking, uncontrollable excitement towards other dogs when on lead and just generally had no idea how to be a dog.
In our first session together we implemented a training program to give Buddy some stability and take away the anxiety he has been feeling. Buddy began crate training and his owner has learnt some valuable tools to take on the leadership role in her home, meaning Buddy could take a back seat knowing someone else was steering the ship.
Within a couple of days of implementing these changes Buddy was a noticeably calmer dog, Buddy was no longer pacing around the house, following his owner everywhere she went and had stopped being interested in jumping the fence (which he was happy to do right in front of her previously!).
In the short space of just a few weeks Buddy has now settled into his home with the leadership of his owner. He has learned there are consequences for his actions, many of these are good consequences, however he has also learnt about the not so good ones for the behaviours that are unwanted or dangerous.
So what is it that can be learnt from Buddy's story? There are so many great lessons to be learnt here! The ones which I am really proud of his owner for understanding and implementing are:
- Empathy not sypmathy... It was well known perhaps his start to life was not that great (he was previously named Scar due to all the scars on his face from his past. This was promptly changed by his new owner to Buddy, as he now has the hope of a very bright future and they have both put his past behind them.) Although Buddy had a difficult life prior to coming into her home his owner did not feel sorry for him. Empathetic, yes for sure, but not sympathetic. You cannot lead someone you pity. For this reason it was very important early on his owner educated herself on what a dog really needs and how to appropriately communicate with him as a dog. She took the lead and added structure to reduce the confusion and chaos in his life.
- Time and Commitment... It is all good and well to pay a dog trainer to come and help you with problematic behaviours in your dog but if you are looking for a quick fix or are not willing or able to put in the time and effort required you will not be able to make change. Buddy is so fortunate to have landed himself in a home where his owner is dedicated to making change and improving his life and emotional state and has put in the effort required to achieve this. Behavioural training is not something you do for half an hour a day, training is all the time. It is always happening and Buddy has now learnt what it is that he is required to do.
- Behaviour is an expression of internal emotional state... Buddy was obviously in a bit of emotional turmoil. He was on the go constantly and could not settle. One of the first things his owner also told me was he was not interested in toys or playing with her no matter what she seemed to try. So why is this in a dog which would usually have quite a high chase drive that he did not want to play? Well funnily enough once there was structure implemented and his mind has now settled and he feels his leader has control he is now playing with toys! He is also able to go out into the yard and lay in the sun and just relax, Buddy is now being a dog!! It is great to see that his behaviour is now showing instead of being in a frantic and insecure emotional state he is now relaxed. Buddy has now moved on to working on his lead etiquette (something he knew nothing about previously) and improving his
I am super excited to see what the future holds for Buddy as he is such a sweet boy who has come so far in such a short time. His owner is dedicated to making change and this really is just the beginning for him. Now we have an emotionally stable dog who respects his leader the next phase of training begins for him. The world is now their oyster and I am truly grateful to his owner for all the hard work she continues to do to keep him in a stable home.