Lots of Positive Reinforcement Required
This little dog has had a lot of emotion and change in his life. Shortly after they got him as a puppy there was a family bereavement causing turmoil and grief and the puppy will have picked up on these things.
A year ago they lived in quiet rural North Wales and they have moved house twice since then – now to a much busier town area. Coinciding with the first move Wilf’s behaviour has declined. He has quite a serious skin condition that is also getting worse and this discomfort may be affecting his behaviour; he gets growly if a hand rests on him. Coincidentally, he changed vets and medication at the same time as that first move, and the new vet flipped him onto his back and pinned him down to examine him. Since this, unsurprisingly, he has also became aggressive and fearful of the vet.
Indoors Wilf is no trouble at all. He is quite self-contained and doesn’t seem to want to put himself out much for the mother and daughter who own him – though I found he came alive for cheese! He takes little notice of them when they ask him to do something – and may even do the very opposite! Its a shame because they do a lot of things with him in order to enrich his life, but there is just something missing.
It’s this relationship that needs to be strengthened if he’s to take notice of them when they meet other dogs on walks – or children, both of which he doesn’t like too close, especially when he’s trapped on lead with someone he doesn’t fully believe in – someone who is herself becoming increasingly nervous. Most recently things have escalated to a little girl simply standing and staring at him being enough to cause him to react ferociously. They will now go near the local school playground and get him associating children with good stuff from a comfortable distance.
If they were to engage with Wilf a bit more, use food rewards and lots of positive reinforcement, I’m sure this little dog will liven up and become less touchy. He is another of those dogs that gets too much for nothing and he needs to work for some of his food and attention. This way both will gain value and his people will become more relevant.
They are having a new vet check him today to review the skin meds. He also walks into things which is strange though seems to be able to see okay. The vet will check that too. Maybe there is more going on than we know.