Weasel, a female Lurcher, was found as a stray aged about 9 months in Essex, possibly having been abandoned by travellers. She was taken to a rescue centre where it was clear that she was very anxious, fearful of strangers and other dogs. It took several meetings before she was comfortable around Nicky’s three other dogs. Luckily she was adopted by Nicky, who worked at the shelter and whose other dogs took to Weasel well as Nicky set about trying to socialise her and increase her confidence. Sadly Weasel lost two of her new canine companions in the following 12 months and much of the progress Nicky had made with her unravelled. She changed from simply cowering a little, occasionally urinating when she met people and dogs out on walks to being very vocal, barking and growling at the same time as backing away and trying to hide. Weasel steadily deteriorated coping with life outdoors and would shake and pant if she was taken anywhere busy and crowded such as country fairs or even just out in the car. Things worsened indoors too as she became terrified of the television and would leave the room each time it was turned on to find a space where she could hide terrified alone.
Earlier this year Nicky acquired a new four legged friend, Rodney the whippet. She noticed this led to small improvements in weasel’s confidence around the house and so decided that Weasel might be ready for training classes. They spent most of the first three sessions sat in the corner having ‘time out’, with Weasel shaking, panting and not coping at all with the new environment or the presence of other dogs and unfamiliar people.
On the 11th of March this year Nicky began feeding breakthrough™ to Weasel and, astonishingly at her training class the following week she didn’t need a single minute of time out! Instead she joined in with all the activities and was even happy to be held by the trainer for recall. Weasel managed to stay markedly calmer with other dogs, sat in close proximity, even managing a small wag of her tail! Weasels trainer actually asked what could possibly have changed from the previous week as she was so astounded by the improvements in Weasel’s confidence and focus.
Weasel has amazingly since been able to attend an open day at the rescue kennels. Previously she would have been terrified, staying rooted in a corner shaking, but now she has been able to enjoy meeting people, taking careful sniffs at other dogs, have a big cuddle form a little girl and stand quietly near other dogs. One visitor even commented on what a friendly waggy girl she was!
Nicky and her partner were able to enjoy their day out for the first time, and what a pleasure that was for all of them! Weasel’s rehabilitation has continued in leaps and bounds ever since she started eating breakthrough™.