12 Mar Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in a Puppy
I’ve often thought that bad training is better than no training. If owners took a correction style group class, I figured – oh well, they didn’t know better, but at least they tried. I stand corrected. No training is better than correction training.Today I got a chance to see a puppy suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder caused by a severe correction. The owner had called in a trainer to help with his resource guarding. The trainer that they called had, as the owner put it, ‘a real alpha grab-by-the-scruff-of-the-neck approach.’ So how did she deal with the dog guarding this bone? He got a severe correction. Really severe.
Today we had our first lesson. Fortunately, the owner was wise enough to realize that severe corrections weren’t a necessary part of training for any dog, never mind a 6-month puppy. We worked with the bone. I sat down next to him, let him lick the bone and then exchanged for a treat. We worked for a while, building up to the point where he could eat the bone for 10-20 seconds and then exchange. At some points he had a stiff body and a tight mouth, but it didn’t take long to convince him that if he gave up his bone, he was going to get something better. As his final reward, I recommended we put the bone in his crate and let him finish it. Well that stimulated fear in this little guy like you wouldn’t believe. Being left alone with this bone stirred up some intense emotions. He backed up as far away from the bone as possible, wouldn’t eat it and looked like he had was completely frustrated -scratching at his bed, whimpering, and doing everything to avoid the bone. The owner explained to me that left alone with the bone he’s terrified to eat it. This little guy was so confused and stressed. Well I guess the trainer did her job, never mind the resource guarding, she stopped the dog from eating bones altogether. Good job lady.
Sadly, I know this trainer. When I was 16 I took my malamute to a group class in a secondary school and she was the instructor. Even after all these years she’s still set in her evil ways and infecting other people with her abusive techniques, like a bad virus. I wonder how long it’s going to take for us to convince the little guy that bones are safe and build up his confidence. The only comfort is that now he’s in better hands.