Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Listen up! Sometimes more training isn't what's needed

 This hit my inbox after a masterclass that I took with another Trainer.  But it was so good, that I reached out to Stephie to get permission to share her story!  This involves something that has been on my mind alot lately.  As Cam turns 9 yrs old in a few days, his body is starting to slow down and I'm watching him for signs of pain every day.  Most days, Cam is great but some days after a bit more activity then normal or after twisting the wrong way I can see subtle signs of pain.  Which is why I took this masterclass to begin with.  Thankfully the author of this email agreed to allow me to share her here it is!

You remember the bit in the masterclass where I talk about hidden pain? 

Two year old spaniel mix Henry and his guardian had been working with a behaviourist to try to resolve Henry's unpredictable reactivity to other dogs.

The techniques that his guardian had learnt were all kind and thoughtful, totally beautiful and exactly what we're looking for in modern dog training...but they'd got stuck.

They weren't making progress.

After seeing my different approach to working with dogs, his guardian sent me a message reaching out for help, and one sentence jumped out at me.

"Henry can walk by dogs have a quick sniff and move on but he always seems ready to react, very alert, stiff. On our particular walk this morning he greeted a few and we moved on but then approached a springer spaniel and he reacted."

Henry's guardian and I exchanged a few messages and she sent me some video of the interaction.

I could instantly see that Henry was behaving like this because he anticipated pain.

  • When other dogs stayed away from his rear end, he was able to meet, greet, and move on.
  • But the moment any dog went to sniff his butt - a very normal and polite way for a dog to meet and greet - Henry anticipated pain and tensed up - and that hurt.

We jumped on the phone and had a chat, and it became more and more obvious to me that Henry was struggling with undiagnosed chronic pain that he'd been hiding from everyone for a long time.

Following our discussions, his guardian felt able to take Henry to her vet and push for further investigations.

This is what they found:

"Hi Stephie, Henry’s ct scan report came back and I thought you’d like to know the result. He has two lesions in his spine, one at t11/12 and one at t13/l1. They are suspicious of disc extrusion and the recommendation has been to cage rest Henry for a month alongside anti-inflammatories. I’m still trying to get my head around this as his symptoms have been present for so long and try to understand how and why it happened. Waiting to hear back from his physio and set up a plan. Thanks "

If his guardian hadn't reached out, Henry would still be struggling with behaviour that was driven by the anticipation of pain. They would still be stuck.


If any of this resonates with you, if you're stuck with your training and aren't making progress, if your vet has said they can't find anything wrong...

  • keep an open mind
  • hop over to my calendar today and
  • grab the next available hidden pain assessment chat


❤️  Stephie

The Shouty-Barky Dog Lady™ 

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