They have had three-year-old Oscar for fifteen months now.

Until last year, where he was alert to bangs when out on walks, he could cope. Then, late November, they were out in the garden for his final toilet trip at about 10pm, and his world erupted.

His world erupted

Suddenly fireworks all around like in a war zone. Diwali.

Now Oscar wouldn’t get in the car. He refuses some walks. He tries to get between the lady’s legs and is generally very anxious.

The lady tries to insist that he carries on, feeling she shouldn’t give in to it. I suggest the very opposite.

At the first sign he doesn’t want to walk, to turn around and go back to the house. She can then start out again and have another go. Several times maybe. All the time he will be learning he has a choice and he has an escape route.

With choice and he will feel he has some control. You can then start out again and try again. OK we’ll go home again, don’t worry. 

Ad hoc bangs and noises

They will start by dealing ad hoc with everyday noises and bangs in the house and garden as they happen. There is a nearby clay pigeon shoot.

I suggest using clicker technique with the word Yes. As soon as there is any sound, whether or not Oscar reacts to it, they will say Yes and feed him.

They will do the same thing with every sound or alert when they are out of the house on walks. His recall has gone downhill with his anxiety so he needs to be on a long line. Not something stretchy like they use now – he needs to feel freedom.

If trapped, he has a meltdown. They need him to go back to how he was before his world erupted in November.

The car

All the good walks where he can play in the water and sniff and run about require going by car. We have a plan for slowly becoming happy to both get into the car, and get out of it again the other end. He refuses at present.

Just as bangs have contaminated the outside world, they have also contaminated the car.

Our aim

Our aim is for Oscar to go back to his old self before the Diwali incident. To become less jumpy in general. A dog who loves his walks, exploring, chasing and water. A happy dog..

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