I am very happy to announce that October's winner for Dog of the Month is Delilah. I am sure both Delilah and her owner, Abbi will be thrilled at this news.
Delilah has been with Coastal Dog Walkers since February of this year and it's fair to say that when she first came on board she was a dog with 2 distinct sides to her personality. At home she was a playful, clever and loving dog but in typical Border Terrier style she was not so great in the company of other dogs. Delilah at the time was about 15 months old and I am unsure what amount of socialisation she'd had with other dogs up to that point; we inherited her from another dog walker who would walk Delilah on her own but thankfully her owner wanted to explore pack walks in order to socialise Delilah.
We'd had some success stories over the years with anti social dogs (April I'm looking at you!) so we welcomed the challenge. My own experience with Border Terriers in the last 5 years has been mixed, maybe it's just me but I do find that often they can be a grumpy little breed around other dogs. However Border Terriers are also quick to learn and I looked forward to playing a role in Delilah's rehab. Owning an anti social dog myself I know first hand that this rehabilitation takes a long time, there's no quick fix and often it's one step forward and 2 steps back.
For Delilah the key tactic employed was exposure to other dogs. This was done frequently and in a way where everyone was safe, it would have been unthinkable to just lump her in with dogs she didn't know and that would have only set her back and put the dogs at risk. Fortunately she is a pretty regular client so there was plenty of opportunity to gently increase her exposure to dogs we knew would cope well with her....dark side.
Fast forward to now and she's improved no end. It's been a gradual thing but if you compare how she was initially in February to how she is now she's like a different dog. She's not perfect but I honestly think she'll continue to get better and better. She knows about 10 of the other dogs so is actually an easy dog to work into my scheduling each week. Her behaviour around them is very good and it's rare now that she reacts at all and if she does begin to 'go' she snaps out of it with is snapped out of it with ease, usually a short, sharp 'tsssk' noise gets her attention back on me and we can move on from there. Our next mission is to try and take her tension levels down around dogs she doesn't know as this is now where almost all of her anxiety comes from.
Delilah is much more that just a narky dog though, she's gots bags of personality and I can imagine she's great company at home. She's got a mischievous side and did go through a phase of playing hide and seek when we picked her up, fortunately we now usually find her on her bed, legs akimbo or pretending she's been eaten by the sofa!
Well done Delilah. I will fetch you some treats and your certificate later this week.
Coastal Dog Walkers
Welcome to the occasional ramblings of a North Shields dog walker.