Eddison is a rescue from eastern europe
I am working with an increasing number of dogs who come across from rescue centres in eastern Europe, in particular Romania and these dogs can be very withdrawn and traumatised and difficult to reach at an emotional level.
When you are four years in however and much of the past has been left behind yet some of the behaviours remain, it is perhaps time for a change of viewpoint.
Has the dog become accustomed to being the centre of attention and is now maintaining the level of attention through the demonstration of his previous behaviours because they were so successful?
This can be difficult to determine as the owners are so close to the dog and love him to pieces, he is an absolutely adorable dog!
Yes he is still uncertain of people and certain behaviours but if this has meant he has not been exposed to those behaviours and then proven they have a different outcome, has he missed an opportunity to learn, grow and improve?
I think so! There has to be evolution in the relationship but it is easy to be caught in a trap of the past and to hang on to his traumatic background. This can sometimes prevent the dog moving forward and progressing, it will certainly be a factor in preventing the dog from learning to be relaxed!
On this front, there has been good progress since I last saw the dog, really good progress and this has been achieved by not being so over protective and reactive, to the owners being more relaxed and rewarding relaxed behaviours more often.
There is a long road ahead as trying the recall in the house proved as there was no inclination from Eddison to move or do anything in response to the instruction as he clearly did not see the need to change his behaviour just because he was asked to! Clearly the expectation is the people come to him because he will remain in his basket which forces people to come to him to give him attention. A very clever and astute move but an expectation that needs to change to build the foundation of the recall.
When a dog bases decisions on anxiety, it is difficult for them to think clearly so patience is very important but so is persistence. If Eddison is used to getting his own way and now has to change to do something for attention, that can be a big decision for a dog to make as he is having to change his whole decision making process and trust in a new one. This can and will take time but it will happen and it will take time, patience, love and gentleness. Fortunately for Eddison his owners and I have that in abundance so his journey will be a stress free as we can make it for him.
It is only possible to bring a dog forward as far as the dog can come but many dogs flourish when they realise they can express themselves without fear of harsh consequences or punishment and Eddison clearly has expectations of how people are going to behave and it is those expectations we are working to change by proving we behave differently to all the other people Eddison has encountered in his life, for much of which I believe he was a stray.