16-month-old Rudy looks more English Bull Terrier in the photo but you can see the pale Husky eyes. A beautiful dog and quite unusual looking. Because of this he attracts attention, and human attention is what he can’t handle.
Like so many of the dogs I go to, his start in life was far from ideal. From the time he left his mother and litter mates at 8 weeks old and until he was four months old, he was shut in a room all alone for hours on end, before being returned to the breeder. The most valuable weeks of his life for socialising and happily encountering many different things including lots of people, had been lost. My clients then took him on.
Rudy is terrified of people coming to the house. He barks and hackles, but is also ready to run. He may empty his bladder if approached. He has never bitten. He barks constantly when anyone he doesn’t know well comes to the house – so much that nobody can speak. Unfortunately this has led to a lot of shouting which simply makes things worse. Very unusually for him, he quietened down for me very quickly and we were able to talk after a few minutes, which goes to show how, if the visitors use the right signals and body language, don’t approach or stare at him and stay seated, if his owners too keep quiet and calm, he can be helped. He is watching me in the photo, fairly calm – but that would change quickly if I were to suddenly stand up.
The other major problem is that he is so dependent upon the presence of the lady in particular that for a year they have seldom gone out. The couple are almost prisoners in their home because they can neither have visitors nor go out and leave him.
So we have two big problems to deal with, fear of people and fear of being left. It is going to take a long time because each must be dealt with in tiny increments, a step at a time, with a lot of patience, and definitely NO SHOUTING!