Okay, first let's start with the obvious: LOOK AT HIM.
This here is Mr Chunk. Yes, that is his name. No, I'm not using an alias. His amazing owners rescued him in December from Clymping Dog Sanctuary near Arundel, finally giving this beautiful Staffie a forever home.
However, Mr Chunk has been through a lot so far in his life and this had led to him becoming a bit of an anxious chap, he's especially not a fan of being left alone. He unfortunately also gets stressed when people come to visit and can be very shouty & unsettled.
So, after a long chat and some working out what would be best for Mr Chunk and his owners, they are working through an 8-week behaviour programme together designed to help teach Mr Chunk things aren't always as scary as they seem and reduce his overall anxiety levels.
we've only just started together so he is currently in the early stages of a desensitisation programme to get him comfortable being left on his own for short periods of time. As with all anxiety issues, it's small steps, one at a time.
In the photo, you can see Mr Chunk learning to settle & relax when there is a visitor over - an important step in teaching him life isn't scary anymore. Despite only just starting we're already seeing progress! His owner was recently able to get him to settle in his bed while a friend came over for a cup of coffee, which is incredible progress in such a short time.
Impulse control training: hyping him up playing tuggy games, teaching him to drop, sit and wait, before the game starts again
We've also focused on teaching Mr Chunk some impulse control games to help him learn to manage his BIG emotions, by hyping him up by playing tuggy games, teaching him to drop, sit and wait, before the game starts again. Patience is a virtue as they say, and one Mr Chunk is learning to appreciate.
He's also been learning to search around the house & garden for a tennis ball that his owner has hidden, which is teaching him how to use his brain, giving him a great enrichment opportunity and helping him to calm down by utilising his INCREDIBLE nose power. Soon enough he'll be on a search and rescue team, ay? But Chunk isn't done yet - We'll keep working with this powerhouse of a puppy until he's mastered it all. So next up we'll be teaching him how to settle outside at cafés, to relax in the car (and not shout down his owner's ears while they are driving!) and showing him that shower's aren't the end of the world. (or at least, aren't quite as bad as they sound)
Mr Chunk has come from a rough place to a loving home, and I'm lucky enough to be working with him now and getting to see just how much potential this once abandoned Staffie has. He's a shining example of why shelters should be your first call when looking for that new family member. Yes, they can be harder work. And honestly, in this humble trainers opinion, they are worth every bit of it.
Here at G&S I love working with rescues, they can be some of the most rewarding work I do. Me, Athena and Lizzie will do everything we can to guide you and your dog on the road to being the very best duo you can be, and while it may be a rough, rocky, slow road, you can rest assured Great and Small will be there every step of the way.
Now, onwards and upwards, Mr Chunk.