Breed: Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Behavior Challenge: Reactive to other dogs and squirrels when walking on leash
This cute little guy had his owners convinced he was a difficult dog! The loving, kind, well-meaning owners were doing everything they had been told to “help” Rocky, except tell him clearly and convincingly what he was not supposed to do.
Rocky learned some basic on-leash obedience and we also used an e-collar because it was easier for the owner to interrupt him that way than with any other type of correction. And because he was a smaller dog, it was safer for him to get interruptions that way than from a leash pull.
Basic obedience with the e-collar and some treats tuned Rocky right in. In fact, he was the fastest “leash aggression” rehabilitation I’ve ever seen. It quite literally took us one session to convince him it was a bad idea, then it was just making sure to reinforce his good decisions consistently after that. Initially a dog that was pulling and yapping and barking down the street, Rocky became a model citizen, heeling, sitting, and checking in regularly. Rocky was able to find relaxation on walks once he was clearly shown the expectations, and at the same time, understood that we would help him be successful in meeting them.
In Their Own Words – Our Client Experience
We have two Cavalier King Charles spaniels. Our first, Cherry, took readily to training and is a great listener. About 6 months after having Cherry, we adopted Rocky as a puppy from a rescue group and found out quickly that we had some challenges on our hands.
While extremely loving, Rocky was difficult to potty train, extremely anxious on walks, barking excessively and pulling continuously on the leash. A simple walk around the block proved challenging; he’d become so anxious that he could not eat a treat or follow a simple command.
After two years of trying different ways to address his behavior, we decided it was time for some professional help. Our dogs travel with us; we take lots of walks and often bring our dogs to social events, so having well behaved dogs was important if we wanted to continue these activities with them. We also wanted each of us to be able to take both dogs for a walk without incident. That’s when we sought Sarah’s help and came up with a training plan that consisted of four on-site training sessions, use of the e-collar, and weekly walks for Rocky with Sarah.
The training sessions and consistent use of the e-collar has made a significant difference in Rocky’s behavior and temperament. He is more relaxed at home and has less anxiety on walks. He is still very attentive to his environment, but it no longer overwhelms him. As our training has progressed, we rely less and less on the e-collar and have achieved loose leash walking.
Rocky is more receptive to verbal commands both in our home and when we’re out in public. Because Rocky is calmer and more attentive, it is now possible for one of us to take both dogs for a walk at the same time without significant behavior issues. Obtaining Sarah’s help with training and use of the e-collar has made all the difference. Life with our dogs is much more enjoyable!
Jen and Greg, Minneapolis