JoJo the Westie Screams.

He is eleven years old. He has lived with the couple for just a few months now. He is a model dog in every respect bar this.

Previously he lived in kennels as a stud dog and show dog. He’s never lived as a pet in a home.

Old dog and new tricks

Eleven years of age is quite old to be learning a whole new way of life and he’s doing brilliantly. The couple give him all the love and encouragement he could need.

But JoJo screams. To his humans it comes out of the blue – but actually it doesn’t.

When I first heard the story I felt the screams must be due to pain. They have had him thoroughly checked at the vet.

He screams in certain circumstances and I believe all the signs actually point to fallout from previous physical punishment.

Hands haven’t always brought him good things. 

He has wet his bed a couple of times and when the lady approaches a wet bed, JoJo screams.

Sometimes he will suddenly wake up running when lying beside them on the sofa. He runs and screams as if escaping from something.

Often when they walk over to him and lift him up, JoJo screams. They have to do this because he’s not used to stairs. They also worry about him hurting himself when jumping off a lap but sometimes he screams when they lift him off.

When they go over to him to touch him his ears will go back and his tail down. He then may roll over. They have interpreted this as enjoying the fuss but I see it differently. On his back he’s submitting. Appeasing. ‘Please stop!’.

From my questions I deduce that JoJo doesn’t like hands over the top of him. In his past life he has had no choice.

If he goes to them for a fuss and they are sitting down, it’s fine. He has choice. Just sometimes too much stroking will stir him up.

When JoJo is aroused is when he screams the most.

The tactics we are using include avoiding over-arousal and teach JoJo to come to them voluntarily to be picked up or for a fuss. If they want to carry him upstairs, they will lower themselves and invite him to them using food. Then they can lift him.

They will avoid too much touching on the top of his head or back.

If he wants to get off a lap, they have lifted him onto the floor as it’s a big drop for older bones. As they do so, he screams. They will now teach him to get off onto the sofa from where he can safely jump down himself.

They have a caravan and he screams when they lift him in. They can teach him to go up and down the steps himself – in their garden.

To teach their old dog some new tricks they will use food.

Punishment always has fallout.

It’s pretty obvious he has been physically punished for wetting his bed. If his bed is wet (not often), he screams and cowers as the lady approaches.

Screaming at hands will also, I’m certain, be due to past punishment.

NB. For the sake of the story and for confidentiality also, this isn’t a complete ‘report’ and is always written with permission of the client. If you listen to ‘other people’ or find instructions on the internet or TV that are not tailored to your own dog it can do more harm than good. Click here for help