Wallflower to Wiggler!
by Sam Spurr // November 2017
Ella the adorable Labrador puppy signed up to our Dog School classes shy and lacking in confidence. Ella’s mum was nervous and apprehensive about bringing her to classes due to how shy she was, wondering if she would cope.
Ella started week one of our classes as a shy wallflower, hiding under the chair, wouldn’t come out of her bay, approach or socialize with the other puppies. The Dog School Nottinghamshire team supported Ella’s mum and dad and helped them to understand Ella’s body language. This helped them to recognize signs of fear and anxiety, and understand what Ella was trying to tell them.
To help Ella build confidence we made sure she had plenty of places to hide, and asked the owners to feed her tasty high value treats under the chair, so she could start to build a positive association with coming to classes. We then slowly started to encourage Ella to come out from under her chair again pairing this with tasty high value treats. Ella’s confidence then started to develop and she started to venture out of her bay and take part in the class exercises.
Once Ella began to feel more confident with the class environment we started to slowly introduce her to the other puppies. To help build Ella’s confidence around the other puppies we made sure this was done on lead initially, so the other puppy couldn’t jump all over Ella and worry her. A quiet and friendly puppy, that would allow Ella to approach in her own time, was chosen to socialize with her. It was also important Ella could choose to come away from the puppy if she wanted to. Tasty high value treats were given to Ella for approaching or showing interest in the other puppy, to help build a positive association. As Ella’s confidence began to grow over the weeks, she started to show an interest in the other puppies, and we gradually began to introduce her to them.
Week by week Ella became more and more confident with coming out of her bay and greeting the other puppies. Ella now comes out of her bay and initiates play with the other puppies, how amazing is that? She has gone from being a shy wallflower to a confident wiggler. By the end of week five you couldn’t believe this was the same puppy we saw in week one. It has been so rewarding to see the progress she has made, Ella’s mum and dad couldn’t believe the difference. The Dog school Nottinghamshire team are so proud of Ella and her mum and dad, they all did a wonderful job.
If you adopt a puppy or dog please remember school is not just about teaching them to sit and lie down. Dogs Trust Dog School can help owners recognize signs of fear and anxiety, and help with your wallflower to wiggler. To enquire or book onto are classes please give us a call on 0115 855 9372 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
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