Murphy, a collie x kelpie, was adopted at the age of 5 by his current owners in 2012. His previous owners had owned him from a pup but had struggled with both his aggressive behaviour towards them and his noise phobia, and his separation related anxiety was getting steadily worse. On top of it all, due to their increasing work commitments they had less and less time for Murphy, which simply magnified the problems of his behaviour. His noise phobia outside manifested itself in him bolting in random directions, and as he was reactive towards all vehicles, sirens, alarms, wind, rain and petrified of large bangs, exercising Murphy was becoming a real horror story, and leaving him comfortably at home became increasingly difficult because he became increasing fearful about being on his own. Indoors. Alone or in company, he would also lunge and bark at any sudden or loud noises from indoors or out, and in the end, the family decided that they just couldn’t cope anymore or look after Murphy with so many difficulties.
Murphy’s new owner Lindsey knew what she taking on and was indeed bitten several times over their first few months together until she identified the triggers to his biting and managed to avoid them. This was a huge help but she continued still to receive an occasional bite if she wasn’t careful. Murphy was also fear aggressive towards Lindsey’s other dog, but fortunately that has subsided over time as they got to know each other. Murphy was also leash aggressive towards many different sorts of people and other dogs at training, but Lindsey bravely managed to overcome this as well and started gradually to build up a rapport, tho never a confident relationship or great faith in the reliability of Murphy’s behaviour in any situation.
Using positive reinforcement training in obedience and agility classes, teaching him tricks and enjoying rally sessions steadily helped Murphy’s confidence and build up his relationship with Lindsey and about three years, Lindsey felt he had really begun to trust her. He still seemed scared of much of the world around him, but to a lesser degree and was truly showing signs of enjoying training. But when not training, he still struggled to relax, especially indoors, becoming more anxious and nervous each time Lindsey brought a new foster dog home, and developing the new problems of being restless in the night and becoming quite nervous and aggressive at Lindsey’s mum’s house.
Lindsey decided to put Murphy on the homemade version of Val’s breakthrough™ Diet in March this year, and within only one week, she noticed that he was sleeping better and seemed less anxious about noises when they were out and about. The following week Lindsey’s mum’s dog Glen came to visit and the difference was huge! Where previously Murphy would be aggressive, lunging, snapping, in the house and out on walks, refusing to allow Glen into the rooms he was in and had even bitten Glen a couple of times, this time the intensity and frequency of threat was remarkably reduced and the biting ceased entirely. By week four of the diet Murphy was able to play with Glen and both are now enjoying each other’s company enormously! Murphy is far less reactive to loud noises, he has become much more affectionate, nudging for cuddles and strokes, he no longer snaps at Lindsey if she moves suddenly, and overall he seems far more relaxed and contented in life. Both Lindsey’s mum and trainer have noticed a huge difference, his whole attitude and body language is one of a calmer, more relaxed fellow…..