It all started when Milla jumped on the counter one day to grab a snack. But this wasn’t just any snack. It was a chicken wing and cooked chicken bones can pose a threat to dogs when consumed. When her loving pet parents tried to take it from her, Milla reacted strongly. She wanted to protect what was considered valuable to her.
Milla was also known to protect her toys, displayed fear around strangers including the vet who was unable to examine her, and would only walk comfortably on leash when it was to go to the dog park.
Milla’s pet parents wanted to help her feel less stressed around resources, so and they reached out to Toronto Humane Society’s expert staff for help.
Milla’s parents booked a one-month consultation and training package with certified animal trainer Louise Lawrence. The plan was to manage these unwanted behaviours, enrich Milla’s environment, and teach Milla new ways to react when she felt uncomfortable or stressed.
While this seemed like a lot to tackle in one month, each training session was structured to work at a pace that was comfortable for Milla and her parents, with simple instructions for weekly exercises. Plus, Louise was there during every step of the process to make sure that Milla’s pet parents felt fully supported.
The first step was setting up Milla’s environment for success by removing objects she was likely to guard.
Secondly, because she guarded items around dogs, desensitizing Milla to wearing a muzzle was important to keep everyone safe. Lastly, Milla learnt a voluntary “drop it” cue and began working on relaxation and independence training.
To improve her walking, Louise introduced some leash walking games and spent time on a desensitization and counter conditioning to help Milla feel more comfortable around strangers.
Taking a structured and guided approach helped to strengthen a human-animal relationship. “Thank you! We feel very fortunate to have met you. I still can’t believe where we are at within such a short period of time,” commented Milla’s parent. “Milla’s behaviour since implementing your training plan is like night and day.”
Because of Milla’s rapid improvement with Louise’s custom training plan, her pet parents decided to continue the training to help Milla continue improvements.
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