Breed: Miniature Pinscher mix
Behavior Challenge: Anxiety
Brandy hadn’t had much in the way of expectation-setting or reinforcement prior to our working together. She is a small dog, but even small dogs need structure and clear communication, otherwise, they are likely to become anxious or obnoxious. Brandy’s owners clearly recognized this. But all too often, small dogs are allowed to behave in ways that no one would allow a larger dog to behave, simply because they’re easier to manage.
We worked on desensitizing her to her crate, specifically getting her to go in under her own power when asked. We also started basic on-leash obedience to create a system of communication so that we could ultimately communicate expectations during times of excitement, such as when greeting people or when the doorbell rang. Finally, we focused a lot on empowering the owners to make adjustments that would set everyone up for success during critical “teachable” moments, such as how to instruct guests to interact with the cute little dog so as to not promote inappropriate behavior.
Brandy did very well with training and become quite focused and proficient even when distracted. She was able to be redirected from barking, significantly shortening the time and reducing the intensity of any outbursts, and had gained more control over herself in the presence of people she really wanted to greet. Her entire body would quiver in anticipation of being able to say “hi” so it was difficult for her to keep her rear end on the ground! One of the best outcomes was that she was able to be kenneled calmly and would even go inside her kennel to lie down on her own sometimes.
In Their Own Words – Our Client Experience
Brandy came into our lives very unexpectedly and previously had run of her house with not much structure. Enter Paws n Motion – Sarah and Tom to the rescue!
Sarah spent quite a bit of time at our house observing not only Brandy, but our interaction with Brandy, to determine what the best approach would be for a training program. It was really refreshing to see that Sarah was not taking the one training program fits all approach and would customize what was necessary for our situation. We decided on the in-home training approach with Sarah coming to our house for 10 days. The critical things to work on were barking, kennel acceptance, greeting people without going absolutely nuts, commands such as sit, stay, down, wait, come and a few others. We were also trying to address some anxiety issues for Brandy.
After only a couple of sessions with Brandy, we were totally amazed at what Sarah had accomplished. After day three, it was time to work with the parents, which was probably more of a challenge for Sarah. Sarah has the patience of a Saint! As the days of training progressed, it was awesome to see how Brandy was responding to the commands and interacting in such a way with people that we didn’t think would be possible in such a short time. When Brandy was having trouble focusing on the training and was so distracted on our walks by various things, Sarah would remind us that it would take time to reinforce the correct behaviors and to just keep working the issue. Practice, practice, practice!
Our training sessions have been completed and the transformation of Brandy is inspiring. We know that reinforcing the new behaviors is a life-long commitment which now doesn’t seem like such a struggle. Brandy is more content and we are all in a much happier place! Sarah definitely has a special gift/talent when it comes to working with animals. We highly recommend Paws n Motion to anybody who is looking for guidance for their pet issues and/or running and walking services. We can’t thank Tom and Sarah enough for helping us with Brandy!
Lonnie and Debbie, Shoreview