Case Study 3 : Bonnie 18 months
Bonnie's mum contacted me as they were looking to add a second dog to their family. The family had recently had a new baby and realised that they would need good advice and support to be able to offer a good home. Having seen their current dog and discussing how he had coped with five previous male 'foster dogs' in the home, I advised a female dog as this would be easier for him to accept. As the family expected, adopting a second rescue dog shortly after having a baby was a huge challenge and one they had to work through together. Bonnie was fat when they rehomed her (approximately 10kgs overweight) due to a mix of poor feeding and lack of exercise. She also realised she could pick on the family's other dog and make him very unhappy. Bonnie would snatch and steal food and claim it as her own, defending it with growling and barking when her new owners tried to retrieve it.
Let's look at issues around food:
Bonnie snatched food that was not offered, scavenged off the floor and other surfaces, and would also growl and bark at attempts to retrieve it again.
Let's look at bossiness and demanding attention:
Bonnie was bossy; she demanded attention and playtime by snuffing her muzzle in your face and barking very sharply and loundly. She lived by her rules and so did everyone else - whether they liked it . . . or not !
The success with Bonnie just keeps giving. She has been to outdoor agility classes (off-lead) and is a very responsive dog to handle even with some distractions. The new baby is now a happy toddler and provides endless ball throwing fun for Bonnie. Also, her owner has recently taken on another 'foster dog' and Bonnie is playing a key role in teaching Misty that bullying and demanding behaviour is not rewarding.
Having a behaviourist on hand before you take on a new dog can save the stress of having to try and find one further down the line!