Harry was three when he came to me, two years ago from a rescue centre and this is his story so far.
After six months it became obvious I needed expert help to handle him and I contacted Mike Grantham of Rewarding Dogs. Were it not for my having just one session with Mike which gave me such good direction in how to handle Harry followed up by receiving Harry’s Behaviour Modification Programme booklet (to which I still refer) I do not believe I would not have this story to write as I couldn’t have coped with Harry without Mike’s help….thank you so very much Mike.
Harry’s nervousness was evident from the beginning, he had frequent tummy upsets, he was very fussy about what he would eat, and he regularly brought up bile in the mornings. He had constant diarrhoea, his rear end needing daily washing to clean him up which provoked snarling. He barked at everything and anything. His waking thought was of the arrival of the postman and he stood on guard at the front door waiting for the confrontation.
Harry had a number of triggers that resulted in an aggressive reaction of snarling and looking very fierce and threatening. To have approached him at this time would I am sure have resulted in sustaining a severe bite. The triggers were: when he was told ‘no’ with the command to go to his bed; when he saw a stick being carried; when shoes, specifically trainers made shuffling noises on the floor; when arms were gesticulating. These instances were worrying enough but it was Harry’s extreme agitation when a visitor rang the bell and/ or when people were leaving that made me enlist Mike’s help. I then came to see that all his reactions was based on fear and once I had taken charge and he was reassured he would always offer his paw, as if to say’ sorry’ and that ended the episode.
To offer Harry further opportunities to be with other dogs he started ‘day care’ with a friend who has dog boarders and day care dogs. Harry often found himself among a sizeable pack of all breeds and none, most of whom where much bigger than him. This didn’t faze him one bit and he readily adapted to pack life, in fact he seemed to very much enjoy the company as he is so busy checking what’s going on he has earned the title of ‘shop steward’.
K.S. Harry’s well trained owner!