Sunday, 9 October 2016

My dog lacks confidence and I let him go for training. This was not a good thing to do. Updated

George my Golden Retriever dog is nearly two years old now. He was always a confident puppy until last year when he saw and heard fireworks exploding overhead. The poor dog went completely to pieces. He hid under a table for hours and refused to go outside.
As bonfire night apporached we bought tablets from the vets to help calm him. They made no difference. Since then he developed many phobias and suffered a complete lack of confidence. Particularly around traffic. In fact it grew almost out of control.
I did my best trying to help him and took advice from websites and dog trainers. To no avail, George was scared. He would sit in the house and roll his eyes to back of his head.
Of course I understand that their hearing is so finely tuned that any sound is a 1,000 times louder to them than us. But I needed to help him regain his confidence.
He has at least and hour or more exercise a day. He plays outside in the garden but at the sound of a car he rushes back inside. This happens even if I'm playing with him.
I take him on our drive to try and get him used to the sound of traffic. He has his ball out there to chase around.
In the house the sunlight frightens him especially through the blinds he runs and hides. Memories of the fireworks will not leave him.
In the end in desperation I researched all the local dog trainers and found one not far from where we live in Staffordshire. This company boasts that they have an impeccable record with dog training. They are based in Staffordshire.
I rang and explained about George's problems. The owner said he understood my concerns and they could help George. I hithered and hovered for a few months but in desperation in the end I booked him in. Further trouble lay ahead for George and me.
This company is very expensive. I did research the place but only found positive reviews for them. I thought good, excellent. I forgot  that reviews can be removed.
I chatted to them via email and visited the site. They appeared friendly and helpful
First off when I tried ringing or emailing them about George they ignored me. Bad sign. I'd forgotten to give them his stuff to stop him having fleas etc. In the end they contacted me saying he didn't need it every month. I called our vet and they said he did. I knew this anyway. We took it up for them to use. We discovered George had somehow developed a bad skin infection but their vet was seeing him every day. He was improving.
The lack of communication continued over the next couple of weeks. I asked for a video which they sent and it showed me a very worried looking George but they told me he was on the course and doing well. I told them repeatedly he did not need to learn the basics, I had taught him these and he even walked to heel off the lead. His recall needed working on but that was all.
I won't go on suffice to say nothing seemed to have been worked on with him walking near traffic. He still lacks confidence in this and everything else.
The dogs are not kept in a home but mainly just in cages and taken out every two hours for exercise and training. I heard this afterwards. I wanted George home a couple of days early and phoned on the Monday (due home the following weekend) the office woman told my husband we could fetch him there and then. We did. On arriving home (my husband fetched George back) I opened the back of the car to hug my boy and he cowered in the corner. Says it all really.
George also growled at me when I took his empty food dish away from him after I fed him the following day! He had never once done that. When I mentioned this to the owner he said he had never heard of this happening! He says they have trained guard dogs, and police dogs. You name it they supposedly know everything. I felt quite disgusted with his attitude as he said he had never done it there. No because it's mass feed time from what I can gather.
Now I'm busy trying once again to build his confidence up. I'm more than disappointed and told the owner. He initially blamed me. Well, he would wouldn;'t he? I pointed out the facts that we praised his company twice so that they would respond to us. They did. Poor all round show.
My mistake was to not check even further to see if the trainers (lovely staff, very polite and delightful girls who I spoke to) were qualified in anyway. I haven't seen anything that they are.
The dogs are well looked after and as mentioned they are friendly and look after the dogs well.
My gripe is that I typed everything up for them that my dog needed help with and nothing was done for him. My mistakes were not checking this company out enough and finding out the routine they use. Plus the lack of qualifications worries me. Their fees are extortionate for what they do not supply. Good training is what I asked for. Result. Nothing.
I went on to their Facebook page and they were praising one of their dogs up. I left a comment saying I wish George had been as well trained. They deleted me! Says it all really. Ignore your phone calls and emails but one word against them and they delete you. No moral fibre.
Each and every dog should be treated as an individual not have a set training schedule. Dogs with different problems should have a special programme worked out for them. If these people are experts then they should know how to deal with them.
George is now on Nutracalm tablets and I have a plug in that is supposed to help calm your pet. He does seem a little better than last week.
If anyone knows anyone I can speak to who really understands dogs and could help George I would like to know.
I do let him have a good run in the mornings when possible. I also walk him and train him. He loves it. But he still lacks confidence along the roads and even the sound of a drawer being closed can upset him.
Three years have qhizzed by and unfortunately George never regained any confidence. Bonfire night and the days and weeks surrounding it are a nightmare for him. I let him find his way under the bed or the dining room table.
He has constant treatment for allergies. His worst allergy being grass. This is very unfortunate for poor George as we live on the edge of Cannock Chase and also take him to a beautiful Wild Bird Sanctuary. Grass is everywhere we go so he is constantly being treated for a nasty rash. It's a huge pity but he is a loving, friendly boy who is loved by all who meet him.