Last week I received a testimonial from a client that came to meet with me because of her severely fearful dog named Che. I met with Haley and Che. Che was so concerned with my presence that most of the work I did was at a distance – for this reason, we met outside and with Haley doing the bulk of the work per my directions.
Thereafter, Haley and I exchanged a few emails after my visit. Below is an account of Haley and her family’s work with Che, and his improvement – nothing short of impressive!
Her account and her sharing of it is so rewarding for me because, for the most part, we trainers almost exclusively hear about the problems, and sad experiences of dogs and their people, and very seldom do people share the good news or the progress their dog has made.
“Hello Almudena, I don’t know if you remember me but we met once with my dog Che. After meeting once so much changed for me personally that I could not continue meeting, however, meeting with you just once offered so much support that I had renewed my work with Che. We created ABC charts, and worked at home at first each night baby steps through the spaces in the house he showed the most resistance such as the kitchen/ bedroom/ bathroom we did baby steps each night. It took many many months of not pushing past his threshold but offering a positive association. I cannot tell you how much reading, observing, and being patient paid off.
Little by little Che became less and less afraid. To the point that he became engaged in smelling his house/playing tug-a-war and ball. Occasionally he would get stuck in a place (like the bedroom) and start crying and we would help him patiently to move forward but I have not seen him do that in three months. Tonight, he is lying by the washer and dryer as they both are going -he did not even move when I opened the dryer door.
He is like the other dogs around the house, no longer showing fear of the house environment and goes about the house naturally, definitely a different dog from last year.
On our walks now he is weary of people and will bark, but he also is curious and smells the air, compared to last year when he would want to bolt and run from the slightest presence of a human. Though we only met once you sent me in a direction with Che that proved to be a positive direction. Although I understand we would have benefited from many lessons I cannot tell you how thankful I am for your insight direction and support that one meeting provided. It would be great to meet again. Thank you.
Here is a picture of Che with my youngest when she made him peanut butter cookies and had a tea party with her, willingly. This was very huge, but he tends to feel confident around her, we say Che is her dog. This was after aprox. 7 months of daily gentle experiences.” – Haley Tucker – Los Lunas, NM
As Haley correctly attests, working with a dog that has so many fears (her dog is afraid of people, noises, new scenarios) requires tremendous amounts of dedication and know-how.
Dogs are always learning and we can indeed make their lives better if we care enough to understand them and commit ourselves to teach them along the way. Stories like this one not only fill my heart with joy, but they also confirm that with patience, perseverance and know-how we can help in rehabilitating dogs and to alleviate their suffering. Living in constant fear and anxiety is no picnic and no living being should have to experience that.