Millie is a most beautiful, fifteen month old Rough Collie. She was purchased from a breeder and endured a very long flight, at a very young age in a crate to her present owner. From the time that she arrived – Millie seemed unhappy, morose and not very responsive. More changes occurred in her short life which proved to be just too much for Millie.
Millie’s owner, who has trained dogs and owned several Rough Collies, rang me in despair as Millie would not bond with her or take any notice of her.
Millie would pull out of every harness and halti. She wouldn’t go near cars – let alone get into one! She also was scared of enclosed spaces such as garages and was even agitated when on the covered deck. The front door had never been graced with Millie’s footprints as she would not go near it. Her favourite place was in the corner of the back yard near her best friend next door – Holly the Labrador.
We found a Harness Lead that Millie couldn’t back out of. I also taught Trish not to resist when Millie pulls back. With some coaxing – Millie is now walking beautifully on a loose lead and rarely tries her backing trick because she knows it no longer works and she has no need to back away now!
The scary car is now the source of good things and she is jumping in and out of it without much coaxing. We even took her for a drive and she was quite relaxed.
We also implemented strategies that encouraged bonding between dog and owner and engaged the help of Holly to solve the front door problem. The deck is now Millie’s place to be calm, relaxed and sitting by the side of her new found love – Trish.
We still have a way to go – the next biggie, is to get her to go through the door of the vet surgery willingly.
We are succeeding with helping Millie because Trish is willing to do whatever it takes to make her dog truly happy for the first time in its life.
Unfamiliar experiences and changes in a dog’s life can, and often do affect them. The dog’s response can manifest in very subtle ways or develop into phobias often caused by associating past experiences with objects, feelings or people in the present.