Karen Wild discusses lively puppiesDemir D. - May 28, 2022
It’s always useful to hear inspiring stories about dogs that have been very successful, that previously were experiencing problems, writes animal behaviour expert Karen Wild.
Recently, a very dear dog died after a lovely life, whom I had seen as a young puppy when his owner was having all sorts of problems. The issues were that there were two dogs, littermates, that were – to say the least – quite lively! Active, working crossbreeds.
With two, it meant a challenge when they needed to stay calm on the lead when out. There was never malice, just sheer excitement. This however, meant that the dogs were quite noisy, agitated, and their owner was struggling – because even just one dog barking and chasing is not for the faint-hearted handler. You can imagine the difficulty with two!
They would also pull on the lead, and of course with both dogs pulling at the same time, would cause the owner to hang on for dear life.
Both dogs were well looked after, in good shape and their coats were exceptionally shiny. The vet had made it clear that even with all this care, the owner was worried that the only answer might be rehoming.
So why am I telling you this?
The owners took onboard all of the advice that I gave. They were happy to work the dogs separately from the early stages then gradually brought them together. This involved not only teaching their dogs to walk on a lead nicely, but also lots of relaxation training around moving items from a distance first of all, then gradually getting closer and approaching roads that were a little bit more busy.
The owner became known locally because her dogs were doing so well that people didn’t recognise them after she’d been training them for a while. There were setbacks, of course as there always are, but she stuck at it. A true team effort.
Importantly, they didn’t lose their original characters. They were happy-go-lucky and cheerful dogs, and the bond started to reform, that had been a little bit lost with all of the issues. Walks became enjoyable – for the most part! They even allowed me to show the world how great they were, with some training photoshoots for magazines.
One of these lovely dogs, after many years of love and fun now, was recently taken ill, and finally sadly left us, passing away in their sleep, even after much effort from the vets and their owners to try and keep them well. It is devastating.
Dogs are family. The only thing wrong with dogs is that they just aren’t with us for long enough.
Be kind to your dogs and to yourselves. It’s not easy sometimes, but one day, you will look back and be grateful that they were around to share their whole lives with us, for a too small part of ours.
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