How Listening to a Shy Dog Helped Her Come Out of Her Shell

Young Cocker Spaniel Zoe was afraid of everything when she came home. OneMind Dogs Instructor Mary Champagne listened to Zoe, asked her Border Collie Into for some help, and now has got a heartwarming story about how looking at things from the dog’s point of view made all the difference for one dog.

Here’s what Mary tells:

An owner recently contacted me about her scared Cocker Spaniel, Zoe. She had bought her from a breeder at four months and Zoe was now a year old. She had been very happy and social at the breeder’s house that she never saw the outside of.

When the owner brought Zoe home, the puppy was afraid of everyone and everything. They went to countless trainers and classes looking for help. Finally the owner came to me thinking maybe agility would be good for Zoe’s confidence.

Zoe walked in a scared little dog with her tail tucked close. She was locked in her own small world. I talked with the owner for about 15 minutes while I thought of what to do to try to bring Zoe out of her shell. Zoe loves other dogs, so I brought out my Finnish Border Collie, Into. He’s such a nice boy and never too forward when greeting. They were instant friends.

Over the past few lessons Zoe started blasting through the front door! She still shows her shyness and nervousness but her owner says she is more outgoing at home. She used to always barked at the owner’s husband, but has now stopped.

We do mostly playing around with obstacles when she comes in. It took many lessons before we could remotely act as if we were shaping any behavior or she would immediately shut down. She still won’t target a bowl with treats in public, but she is now actually eating treats! For many weeks, she would not even come to her owner for treats.

Zoe and Into were doing jumps and tunnels together and she actually did a few on her own. She may or may not end up doing agility, but her relationship with her owners is now so much better. The owner finally has hope now of her being a normal dog.

Our mission at OneMind Dogs has always been to give a better life for dogs by looking at things from the dog’s perspective. There are many ways in which our community is making this happen every day around the world!

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Our mission is to give a happy life to dogs by helping people become amazing dog owners. We are passionate about increasing the mutual understanding between the dog and the owner, making a life together more enjoyable for both.