Little black and white cocker spaniel pup, Oreo, all of three months, snaps at anyone who would touch him. It broke my heart to see such a young pup with such severe behaviour issues. I want to blame the breeder.
- At our first session, I ignored Oreo completely. Didn’t even look at him.
- It took Oreo about 20-25 mins to sniff my feet and wag his tail.
- It took him about 10 minutes more until he would approach me confidently. But even then, any attention from me, would send him scuttling back to his owner.
- About 15 mins later (about 45-50 mins of ignoring him), he loosened up and was excited to hang by me and get the occasional treat.
The silver lining – Oreo loves and 100% trusts his owner. He runs to her when he is scared. He loves to jump on her, and accepts all her handling.
With time and correct exposure, Oreo trusted me enough to respond to commands such as come, sit and paw (yes, the paw!). He is eager and responsive once he knows you won’t touch him. He still has it in him to trust the human and we need to maintain this trust! 😀 Empowering his pet parents to understand his body language and enforce a strict protocol on correct greetings was my first priority.
We have asked every visitor to the house to ignore him until he is calm, and he makes the first move several times. All interactions between Oreo and the guests are in the form of reward-based obedience training, with no physical interaction and are closely monitored by his pet parents.
It is only with time, patience and a lot of hard work that Oreo will be comfortable around strangers. But it’s important to recognize that Oreo doesn’t need to accept everyone’s touch! We just need to be responsible and look out for his needs.