by Kirsty Lynas // July 2017
Every so often there is a dog that comes to class that truly wins the hearts of all of us and we wanted to share the story of one such incredible dog.
Sully is an 18 month old Golden Retriever and the words ‘gentle giant’ could not be more appropriate for this handsome boy.
His owner Jayne, had only taken on Sully a couple of weeks before classes started and due to him having limited exposure to every day sights and sounds during puppyhood, he was quite a timid character. Loud noises, going through doorways, new textures under his feet and going in to new environments are just a few of the things that worried him. When he arrived for his first class he was petrified by the shiny floor surface. He was also only just beginning to take treats from Jayne because he had had no previous experience of reward based training.
But even though he had all of these worries and anxieties he was still keen to greet us all with a waggy tail and demand some bum scratches! And he was a complete gentleman with other dogs, greeting politely and reading their body language beautifully.
Although Jayne was keen to do some training with Sully, the main reason for her bringing him to class was to help him grow in confidence and experience new things in a controlled manner that wouldn’t overwhelm him.
Over the weeks we watched proudly as Sully began to explore the environment, bravely beginning to walk across some of the strange surfaces, gain confidence going through doorways and become more relaxed when we began playing sounds such as fireworks and traffic in the background. Jayne also reported that he had begun to swim in the river and was much more willing to overcome situations that previously would have made him panic.
On our final week not only did Sully show some great recall and beautiful lead walking around objects that at the beginning he had been frightened of, he was also relaxed enough to pick up a toy and initiate play with us, a massive step for him and one that put a huge smile on our faces!
One of the key messages that we talk about in class is how important the bond between you and your dog is. Watching the trust and relationship grow between Jayne and Sully was one of the best things about having them in class and it was clear to see how much time and effort Jayne had been investing in Sully and it was so rewarding to see how that was paying off.
We have no doubt that Jayne and Sully are going to go on to have the most amazing time together and it has been a real pleasure to have them in class.
If you have a dog that needs a little support with gaining confidence or just want some help with training, then please get in touch and we can tell you more about our classes.