Real Life Story 3 - Isabella's Bad Environment
Updated: Aug 6, 2019
Hello readers! Today's real life story came from a training done just last week with the sweetie you see in the picture, Isabella. Isabella came to us with a bunch of complaints from incessant barking to frequent accidents, but her Behavior Assessment didn't show any of the negative behaviors described. So what happened?
Isabella's story actually shows how negative environments create bad behaviors, but no dog just starts acting out of sorts for no reason. There's always a reason, and taking the time to understand those is the best start to a proper training program. That's why Bandit's Buddies doesn't do a training consultation to start, but a behavior consultation instead. Negative behaviors can be sparked by so many things! And that's exactly what happened with Isabella. So here's the scoop:
Before her adoption, Isabella was found as a stray. She has a lot of hound mix features, and Spaniel looking ears, so she makes for a very cute dog! Not long after she was found and taken in by Love Mutts Rescue, she was found to have a bad UTI (which comes into the picture later), but other than that, she didn't have any aggressive tendencies, no dangerous attitudes, and she acted great around other dogs and people. She loved to cuddle and was (and still is when appropriate) the type of dog that will literally crawl into your lap if you let her!
The next part of Isabella's story comes from a short chapter where she was adopted by someone excited about her cuddly attitude. Unfortunately, that's where the problems started as well. Isabella's new owner was full of love and affection for Isabella, so that was never an issue, but the foreign environment and the different house rules caused Isabella to start acting differently. All of a sudden, they said she had barking fits, tons of accidents in the house, problems getting into things she shouldn't, and some incidents where she tried to slip the harness. The breaking point for her new owner was that Isabella had decided one of her antique rugs was her new bathroom pad, and started exclusively going to the bathroom on that rug. So unfortunately, she had to give Isabella back.
Isabella's time at Bandit's Buddies:
So now we fast-forward to where we were contacted. We were told this story, got to talk to the brief owner, and decided Isabella deserved a chance at a much better reputation. Isabella came to us initially for a 5 day Board & Train program, and we started immediately with a walk and a behavior consultation. After observing her for an hour...we didn't see any of those tendencies! She was very obvious when she needed to go out, she didn't bark once, she didn't fear a crate or other dogs, and she didn't even pull on the leash.
We did make sure to start training her not to jump up and to stay down. At first, she would react to "Stop" or "No", but would reluctantly go back down, and then look to come back up instead of staying down, so that's where we started, and then we kept a close watch to see if any of those other behaviors would start.
3 days later, Isabella was being picked up for an adoption event with our stamp of approval. She didn't have a single accident, didn't bark once, didn't show any aggression, was great on the leash, and learned the meaning of "Stay" and "Stop" while she was here, so she knows now to stay down for positive interactions. She's going to be a great dog for a family, but what happened to the negative behaviors?
After talking to the previous owner for some more information, we found out a few things we didn't know before. We're not looking to embarrass the owner at all, which is why we'll never reveal any part of their identity, but we're only looking to inform people of some things to be wary of. The house had some arguments we didn't know about, and they told us Isabella would often have accidents right after them. Also, they weren't taking her for long walks as she was used to. That's part of the mystery solved! In addition, we found out they didn't like to discipline Isabella at all for accidents, and didn't like Isabella to ever be near a crate.
All of these add up to no structure for Isabella in her new home, which Isabella took advantage of, not knowing any better. She came from being exclusively outdoors, and she used the same mentality in her new house, because there wasn't any structure for her, which she desperately needed. After learning this, it wasn't any shock that Isabella was now behaving in a drastically different way, after getting to the structured environment of a trainer's home.
Not every dog is ready for every type of home. Each home and environment is different, and when adopting a dog, you need to make sure you think the way the dog would, or else you'll run into some issues. It's hard to know how a dog is thinking, however, which is where animal behavior professionals are a tremendously valuable resource! They can help pinpoint the sources of behavior changes and help work through them.
Thank you for reading about Isabella! We hope you like her story and share it to people you know who are experiencing a similar situation, or just those who like hearing a good turn-around story for a rescue dog. If you or anyone else are experiencing some randomly negative behaviors from a dog, contact us! We'll help with an animal behavior consultation and free resources that can help counter-condition the negative behaviors and make life easier!
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call at (919) 961-5265!