As many people who follow us know, we specialise in Dog Behaviour Modification and Rehabilitation. There are hundreds of articles and videos that show our work including many before and afters, just check out our YouTube channel (K9Pro YouTube) if you would like to see some of our work.
One thing I don’t think that we have talked enough about is DOG OWNER REHABILITATION.
When a person owns and of course loves their dog, and their dog develops or has a behaviour problem, perhaps like aggression towards dogs or other people, this can have a very serious affect on the owners self confidence, ability and thought process.
This may mean that we need to work on some dog owner rehabilitation. Now some people can be hesitant to admit or realise that they need some help or they may be just plain embarrassed, but that is the last thing we worry about here.
People find themselves needing owner rehabiliation because they care deeply about their dog, this is nothing to be embarssed about for sure.
Dogs with behaviour problems can generate very high levels of anxiety in their owners that can later lead to panic attacks and other debilitating conditions. Often these people find it hard to discuss these issues with friends or family as they often hear “just get rid of the dog“.
But of course that is not a solution, it would be the start of another problem and or unthinkable for many.
I meet many people who have not been able to go on holidays for years or leave their dog because he or she simply cannot be managed by anyone else, people who have missed birthdays, weddings and other special events all because of their “special needs” dog.
I can tell you that after working with literally hundreds of people in these situations, I totally empathise with them and this article is to talk about help for you, the owner of this struggling dog.
Before I dive into some ideas for you, I wanted to let readers know that not always does the problem have to be where the dog is highly aggressive. I remember working with a lady with a young dog that would run off chasing birds at the beach.
This may sound like a minor issue but the thought of this dog running away, running onto the road, falling off a cliff was very stressful for the owner.
Another in which the dog was super friendly and any time she would see a dog or person, she would race up to them and play with exuberance and enthusiasm. The dog would not recall and if held back on leash would scream and spin on leash.
The lady was frightened to take the dog outside the home in fear of this happening.
Countless dogs that bark when in the back yard, which causes neighbour, body corporate and council issues, meaning that as little as one bark can see the owner racing to the dog to get his or her attention.
And we all have met Mr or Mrs He’s Friendly right? That JERK who will always have his or her (out of control) dog, off leash and allow their dog to race up to yours, without any control, concern for your dog or your rights, only to fix the whole thing by calling out “He is friendly!“.
Some may not know this but I suspect that many of my clients may be Vampires! They walk their dog only very late at night or very, very early in the morning, perhaps it is to avoid the things that set their dog off. 😉
But in reality, it is no joke that a dog that you can’t control can be a stressful thing.
I found out a long time ago that, whilst of course I need to help rehabilitate the dog, I also must provide help and support for owners that need it.
What do we do in our DOG Owner Rehabilitation.
Well in our consults we always want to re establish “hope” in our clients, we may do this by teaching the dog in our highly specialised controlled indoor training environment new exercises and then having the dog work better than ever before for the owner. This will often happen in lesson one.
We will show the owner that their dog can be handled and we CAN change his or her behaviour.
As training progresses we provide distractions for the dog that are delivered in a very controlled manner.
An example may be that we may have the owner work their dog aggressive dog around one of our dogs when our dog is in a solid dog crate.
The idea is to show the owner that even if they mess up, it can’t got to wrong.
We accompany owners to public locations and help them see how we can guide their dogs behaviour in variable distraction environments and we will help coach them through these challenging situations until confident.
It is often common that we will have two or three staff members accompany me and the client to town, I may work with the owner and my staff will provide distraction.
They may have dogs, they may bring a dog that will bark at the clients dog, they may call the dog or offer food or come up and pat.
They can act like the pain in the ass Mr or Mrs He’s Friendly if we need them to or be the person that just has to pet your dog, that person we all wish we would never have to endure, so you can learn how to control them and your dog.
Phase 1 to us is rehabilitating the dog, Phase 2 is working with the owner so he or she has the confidence in themselves to lead their dog to a happier life.
What can YOU do on your own?
First understand that, your dog may not need to be walked in the danger zone as often as you think or perhaps you can establish activities
that are mentally challenging for your dog on your own property.
A great example is Nosework, you can buy an extensive kit and then you can set up an elaborate search in your own home and by moving the target odour to a new place each search.
In only a few repetitions many dogs will be mentally satisfied and content.
This is not to say that your dog does not need exercise, but it can be something else to do rather than entering the war zone every walk.
You can use Fitpaws equipment to exercise your dog and this is also mentally and physically challenging too.
I see many dogs that are in dog parks because their owner says they like it.
I can tell you that very many dogs DO NOT at all like it, so remember that there are many ways to do things with your dog that don’t have to involve taking the risks that make you anxious and stressed.
How do you get help?
Contact us, even if you are located somewhere far far away, we do Phone consults and people find these really helpful.
We have options set up for distance and or Interstate travellers who take advantage of our High Intensity packages which means we work with you for several lessons in a week.
A Behaviour consult is our standard starting point and most people find “hope” in these magic two hours. No of course not all dogs are cured and or rehabilitated in two hours, but we can diagnose the problem for you correctly, we can show you how to handle your dog and we can start teaching your dog how he or she SHOULD behave.
Then we will support you for as long as you need.
In some cases the situation may be so bad for you that we need to take your dog, perhaps just to give you a break or perhaps to run your dog through our Rehabilitation program.
Unlike some other boarding kennels, we CAN take your dog regardless of how many problems the dog has. Human aggressive or dog aggressive dogs are standard in our Super Secure kennels, your dog will be managed effectively here.
He or she will not come into contact with other dogs during their stay unless it is part of the program we are running.
There really is no reason that your situation can’t get better, we can help your dog, but even more importantly in some cases, we can help you more.
This article called “The Broken Handler” may also be a good read for you.
Reach out to us because we would love to hear your story and help you find the solution.
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