Max a young German Shepherd cross, came to Royvon in May. When Max arrived he was scared of his own shadow, he shied away from people and didn’t want to interact with the other dogs. I felt that Max had a lot of potential, however this was being held back by his cautiousness and bringing him out of himself could prove a real challenge.
Training started very gradually making every effort to ensure that every session was a positive experience. I spent lots of time sitting with and walking Max, allowing him to come and explore me in his own time, thankfully this did not take too long and within a few days we were playing together and started working on some obedience commands. Max’s owner had booked activity sessions for Max and this is what helped him to learn how to interact with the other dogs. Although Max was nervous he showed no signs of aggression towards the other dogs, so he was introduced to a couple of dogs to start with and then was integrated in to a group of dogs of similar size and energy level. It took him a while to willingly go and play with the other dogs and stayed close to either myself or Andy the activities manager. We knew that he was in a safe environment and so we did not reward his nervousness and instead rewarded every effort he made to sniff or get close to another dog. After the first week of watching the other dogs playing and enjoying themselves, Max decided that he wanted to get a piece of the action and started to join in with chasing games. This was great to see. As the weeks went on his confidence grew and now that he was interacting well with the other dogs he started to see people as more of a positive as he realised that without them he would not have got to play with the other dogs. In between these play sessions I was concentrating on Max’s general obedience because although I wanted him to enjoy the company of other dogs and people I did not want him to get overexcited every time a person or dog was near, and so I worked on some general control, heel work, sit ,down stay, recall etc. Max picked up the exercises well, however extra work was needed on his stays as he had formed such a bond with me that every time I started to move away he would follow. This just took a lot of patience and I built the exercise up slowly and he eventually got it. I was very pleased as Max had become a happy, obedient dog and I was so proud of his achievements. With Max play was a real motivation aid and the key to success with his training.
Comment from Max’s Mam & Dad:
‘Max has only been home for a week now and we’ve seen a changed dog for the better. Prior to going to Royvon Max was so cautious and nervous about everything, no matter what we tried he didn’t seem to come out of his shell and preferred to shy away from interacting. He has definitely become a lot more calmer and more confident in himself and much more willing to interact with people and other dogs in a more positive way. He seems a much happier little dog since returning from Royvon and we couldn’t be happier with the result. We’d like to say thank you very much to the team at Surrey and particularly Paula for her great work.’