The Story of a Sensitive Dog

Meet Jasper

Jasper is a three-year-old Spanish Podenco whose earlier life left him

  • anxious

  • fearful of other dogs

  • wary of unfamiliar objects

  • cautious with unknown people.

Walks were a nightmare with his constant pulling and the prospect of him exploding at the first sight of another dog.

Scent demonstration SSPCA, Hamilton 2018

We could not let him off lead in parks to blow off steam fearing he might be a danger to others or simply run away.

We would walk him around town for two or three hours a day hoping this would tire him out and calm him down. Unfortunately, this just left him trigger-stacked and he became increasingly agitated and uncontrollable during walks, and often seemed anxious and disconnected from us at home.

A behaviourist volunteering with the Spanish dog rescues suggested that he spent time in a day care setting, where Jasper could be exposed to dogs in a safe manner. We contacted the Vet Creche, who had provided veterinary treatment for Jasper, and they in turn put us in contact with Clare.

In our first class, we discussed how dogs learn and how we can best help them to learn essential life skills. We were shown how to develop a connection with Jasper and as this grew he came to trust that we would deal with threats before he had to.

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We have been training with Clare and her team for 7 or 8 months and have seen a marked difference in his confidence at home and he is less stressed at seeing other dogs. Jasper is making steady progress and we now have a happier, more confident dog who loves cuddles and attention. He also loves to learn.

Update January 2019

This blog was written by Jasper's owners in January 2018. Throughout 2018, Jasper has continued to learn and develop his skills.

In May 2018 Jasper participated in a demonstration scent class event, at the SSPCA in Hamilton. This was a busy event with families and other dogs, we were so delighted that Jasper could join us and cope so well.

Jasper also completed another Sensitive Souls course in the Autumn of 2018. During the previous run through he had spent a lot of time behind the curtain but this time he was able to work confidently in the middle of the room with other dogs close by.

He now shares his home with another dog after his owners sensitively exposed both dogs to each other.

The results are exciting and have been achieved as the result of patience, commitment and practice.

Well done everyone

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