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Stanley the Rescue Cockapoo & Dealing with Fear Aggression

Updated: Apr 29, 2022

If you need a bit of a pick me up you're in the right place.. Happy Ending coming up! 🐶

We aren't usually able to help in this way however we were contacted by a friend in need of help with a pathetic sounding little Pup called Stanley.

Stanley was just 6 months and had had at least three homes that we know of. Fortunately in this country we don't see too many cases where the dogs have been as traumatised as Stanley. Our friend had rescued him in the hope of being able to keep him herself but sadly was unable to. She found him a lovely home very quickly, who could resist the sad little face of a Cockapoo puppy!? However the new owners thinking that they were doing the right thing, immediately took him to the vet even though they had no bond yet and he had already bitten through fear. The whole experience was very traumatic for everyone involved as Stanley had a melt down and bit the vet, and then himself because he was so upset. We were told about this and offered to work with the new owners but the vet had put the fear of god into them and so they returned Stanley to our friend. Unable to keep him herself, the only option was for the absolutely petrified Stanley to go into a rescue kennels. We discussed this and decided that due to how severe his fear was it would only make him retreat further into his shell, and we couldn't see that happen. After all he never asked for any of this, he was so afraid due to the treatment he had received prior to being rescued. Luckily it came at a rare time when Ruth could actually take him into her own home to rehab him enough to be rehomed. He couldn't be picked up, bathed, walked, crated. Everything needed to be started from scratch. If allowed he would hide in corners or under tables and growl. After four weeks though he could walk on a lead, have a bath, cuddle on the sofa and play like a normal puppy should. He also took an absolute shine to Ox the Doberman so on his first walk with his new owner, and his first trip into town Ruth and Ox accompanied him to give him a confidence boost. On the day that Stanley was going home Ruth met his new owner Ian at the vet to ensure his check up went as smoothly as possible.... And it did! Stanley snuggled in for a cuddle and although scared, allowed the vet to do what she needed to do. He had also gained 1.3kg! So his last memory of going to the vet was a much more positive one than his first. We were sad to see little Stanley go, but so happy that he has the great new home that he has always deserved.

The moral of the story is, not every dog needs specific behaviour modification training but all dogs do need leadership to make them feel safe. Dogs are pack animals and therefore think differently to the way that humans do. They live their lives with hierarchy and structure. Unfortunately many, many dogs are truly loved by their owners, but not provided with the leadership and guidance that they need and deserve. This then results in anxiety, reactivity, aggression, resource guarding you name it! Lots of rescue centres also advise decompression time which we don't believe is vital for every dog and every situation, and when it is we would only advise a few days to settle in before beginning to add structural changes.

Fearful dogs like Stanley find avoidance points such as hiding in corners and running away. Had Stanley been allowed to continue this behaviour his recovery would have taken a lot longer. Stanley was pushed in a calm and controlled way to face his fears with the safety of strong leadership by his side, and he has flourished. For a young dog his fear was very deep seated due to his previous trauma, but pandering to that would not help him. Ian fully understood this and in one of our parting conversations we said to Ian "don't let Stanley tell you that he can't do things because with you there he can" ....and he has! If you have a dog with similar traits to Stanley please do get in touch and we can help you. The process must be completed calmly and confidently, whilst reading the dogs signals so if in doubt please ask for help 🙂

Rehabilitation in our own homes isn't something that we are able to do very often due to our own working commitments (although we do offer residential training), but we thought this story might warm your hearts ❤️

See below a link to some helpful videos on fear aggression, but please if you are in any doubt just drop us an email, call, or Whatsapp on 01423 646925 and we will help you through the process.

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