Reactivity – the power of understanding pressure.

It’s hard to believe I picked this big girl up just a week ago and two days prior she had to be sedated the night before AND the morning of to be able to go to the vets without her losing her cool,

At people and dogs.

Callie is our latest Board and Train and a really special one at that,

she currently doesn’t have a home (HINT HINT 😉) and without our help she wouldn’t have had a chance in gaining one given her very serious reactivity issues.

This is her yesterday, in the middle of petstock loving life as she gets thoroughly blow dried.

Hannah and I were almost gagging at the smell of her, I can’t imagine just how uncomfortable she was feeling before the soak and treatment she got for the yeast that been hanging out in those rolls of her.

I was fully prepared not to be able to do this with her and have to walk out before being able to get her into the hydro bath.

I’ve picked my groomer for this very reason, she gets it that some dogs can only handle so much and pushing based that point can have the complete opposite effect.

Even if it just means showing up and standing around for 5 minutes then leaving, that’s better than not going at all, that’s better than causing a bad experience and escalating behaviours.

And it’s exactly why it went so well.

There wasn’t any pressure, any expectation of what Callie HAD to do, it was all based on what she would allow us to do.

On her being willing to follow my lead and trust that I had her back that she didn’t need to hate on everyone and everything around her to protect herself.

Don’t get me wrong, she didn’t sail through the process like this the entire time, she is food mad and she wouldn’t take treats so her stress levels were super clear, she growled and barked at one man but followed me and calmed down super quick, while we were walking her around letting her treatment soak, and a pile of cans in the aisle that she found to be a little scary. She allowed staff to come up and pat her.

Despite how she was feeling she was willing and able to trust Hannah and I, allow us to wash her, soak her, blow dry her AND clip her nails. Really Hannah did all the work, I just made it look like I was working just as hard haha
I’ll remind you again this same dog had to be sedated a week ago for everyone’s safety

and I am all for safety as I said if needed I would have bailed on the grooming session if she couldn’t handle it but she so needed it, and I knew she would feel sooo much better afterwards.

I was so happy with this outcome.

It was made possible with the right structure, the right communication, I was able to check in with Callie when she needed it, help her move through things that were hard, and we were able to take pressure off of her by taking our time and doing things she was able to show us she was fairly comfortable with.

Hannah and I are a great team with these types of dogs it’s only because we get that when we put pressure on a dog when they are already feeling pressure from outside sourcing that we can’t control –

Strangers, other dogs and animals, the wind blowing etc
It makes it even harder for the dog to cope with the situation.

Time, structure, guidance and trust building all made this possible and I can’t wait to see where this dogs at in a couple more weeks time.

The best part to all of this?

None of the work is complicated, it’s not something only a dog trainer can do and it’s going to take hours out of your day to train.

I get my clients working no more than 5 minutes per day and I remind them to have a “couple of days off” to step back and refresh themselves from the work.

Board and Trains make the process go just a little faster but

it’s something any owner can do for and with their dog, you just need to know how.


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