I thought I would share the story of one very nervous dog, Lulu ( not her real name). Lulu is cross-bred and looks to have Alsatian and Greyhound heritage. When her owners dropped her off they said that she didn’t do so well last time she was in kennels and had lost weight ( not our kennels I might add).
There is no denying that some dogs find coming into kennels stressful and usually settle down with our patient care. Lulu was another story. Her nervous nature meant that she was very aggressive, and when we tried to put the lead on her she would spin and use her teeth to say “get away”.
Some trainers would suggest that at this point Lulu should have been dominated and use various method to ensure that I had unchallenged status as “pack leader” or use some form of correctional collar. I have to say that I instinctively felt that Lulu would fight any method that was aggressive towards her. What I chose to do was allow Lulu space, she ran down to our kitchen and had a good look around. I followed and on the first attempts to put a lead on she wasn’t having any of it. I knelt down on my haunches and quietly kept calling her.
After a good 10 minutes Lulu finally came across and sniffed my hand but still wouldn’t allow a lead on her. Following another 5 minutes she finally let me put on the lead. We then went out for her walk – with her following some instructions. From this first incident today the time taken to calm her down is now down to seconds and she is fine to walk with. We share a pat and strokes without any difficulties.
In my view the quiet and calm approach is best – Lulu really responded to the Gentle Touch and I was happy to show her not all kennels will treat her in the same way.