An excited young dog.
After the last four cases, here was a dog who was really pleased to see me!
Beautiful friendly, bouncy, happy and playful Bodie was found by the roadside in November. Since then he has been in kennels and now, for the past week, he’s been in his new home. It’s no surprise that with all the change he can be too excitable – particularly as the younger adults in the family may also be so excited to have him that in their enthusiasm they are winding him up further.
They have been told Bodie is about two years old, but he seems a lot younger to me. He is quite a mix with certainly some collie. The picture doesn’t do justice to his happy nature and athletic build.
His issues are all due to over-stimulation, sensory overload and lack of self control. It’s understandable as in effect he’s been released from prison. He jumps up relentlessly whether one is sitting or standing, he pulls on the lead as he’s bombarded with the smells and noises outside and he will bark non-stop at the sight of another animal. He barks should he even hear another dog. They reckon his time alone in kennels surrounded by other barking dogs may have something to do with this.
It’s fair to guess that Bodie is a dog that had been loved and very well-socialised with people but maybe not so much with other dogs. It’s also a good bet that he’s had a lot of freedom, unrestricted by a leash. How he came to be left by the roadside is anyone’s guess. He’s a gem.
Bodie’s time in kennels can be used to their advantage.
Two things are certain. During his time in the kennels he had limited exercise. During his time in kennels he was used to being shut away by himself. Both these things can actually be used to their advantage if not left too late.
When his jumping up became too much and I couldn’t both work on him and talk with them, they shut him in the conservatory for a break a couple of times. He didn’t complain and immediately lay down on the chair, accustomed to being put away.
For the next few weeks I feel they should continue to put him by himself for short periods when he gets too much so that he never develops issues with with being left alone, issues that are hard to deal with later on.
The other point is, having almost certainly been let out or given a walk for only a short time each day, Bodie doesn’t expect lots of exercise. It’s very likely from his behaviour that in his previous life he had been left to do his own thing. As he’s not used to his day revolving around walks, it means that they can teach him to walk nicely and get him desensitised to the outside world gradually with lots of very short sessions.
The gentleman had taken him for three quite long walks in one day the other day to calm him, and in fact, despite of all that exercise (or because of it), Bodie had come home more hyped up than when he left.
Sarah Reusche makes a good case for how exercise and excitement can sometimes be too much of a good thing.
As is so often the case with their new rescue dogs, people in their efforts to get things right actually do too much too soon.
So, without feeling guilty, they can work on loose lead technique around the house and garden, simply standing still outside, working on distance dogs or barking, advancing to walking around outside the neighbouring houses and so on – gradually building it up. When they have time they can pop him in the car and take him to somewhere open and let him explore on a long line.
The more short outings he has, the less excited he will be and the less overwhelming the outside world will become.
The whole family will need to do their bit to help him to become less excited. Instead of vigorous play and encouraging jumping about, they can teach him some self-control by giving him what he wants in a calm fashion when his feet are on the the floor. Understandably and like many girls, the young adult daughter wants lots of cuddles, unable to see otherwise the point of having a dog. That will come if they take it easy now.
With a clicker it was amazing just how soon Bodie got the message and stopped jumping all over me. He first worked it out that sitting worked and then he took it further by lying down as well. It was obviously the first time the clever dog had ever had a clicker used with him. He was really using his brain.
There was no telling him what to do or what not to do – he was working it out for himself.
If they all take their time now and don’t push it, they will be rewarded with a wonderful family pet.