At approximately 40kgs with enough strength to easily drag his ‘fur mum’, Christine, down the street, Bosco’s recent aggressive and excessive dominant behaviours around other dogs and humans were nothing short of a worry.
My first impression of a dog that would soon become such a gentle giant was ”wow, what a huge puppy!”. I couldn’t get over what a beautiful nature was underneath a lot of difficult and entirely unnecessary behaviours ranging from a simple lack of walking manners, to aggression when Christine tried to handle his feet, i.e nail trimming time, or perhaps move him from the bed.
He was also far too rough with his play at the beach with other dogs, and had no recall when distracted.
Why was he like this? Well, it’s quite simple. He’s a dog! And without rules, dogs just do what dogs want to do. And man, they sure can come up with some dumb ideas! Christine and Ben simply didn’t know how to put these rules in place, which is where I come in handy.
Below: Bosco’s favourite place. The beach! I wonder how they got that picture without any paw prints in the sand!
With exception to his size, being a Rhodesian Ridgeback had absolutely nothing to do with these issues. I make this quite clear, because not too many days go by without a breed being blamed for what in actual fact, are just simply dog behaviour problems. Of course, I love helping my clients find the right techniques to solve their dog behaviour issues, so Christine, Ben, Bosco and I all had a great time discovering the best way to help this big guy live a much more stable, involved life on the Sunshine Coast.
From our first appointment learning to walk nicely on a leash, Bosco was an absolute delight. Ben and Christine followed my program very well, so of course they get top marks too! Before long, not only could we walk anywhere on the coast with him on a loose leash, we were down at the beach training around dogs, many distractions, and having an absolute ball. Now, Bosco’s interaction with other dogs is much calmer, which in turn means he’s going to be much safer at the beach around other dogs who quite likely wouldn’t have appreciated his over exuberant ‘bossy’ play attempts.
Finally, amongst a few other small tasks, we used some very clever techniques to quickly put a stop to Bosco’s aggression around nail trimming / paw handling, which started making the experience rewarding for him, and safe for Christine.
After over 10 years of saying goodbye to thousands of clients and their humans over the years, you do get used to it. But with some dogs like Bosco, it’s great they’re so well behaved and don’t need your help now, but it’s also a little tiny bit sad you don’t get to catch up every week anymore ! He’s such a big baby, super cuddly, and of course, if a dog totally goes nuts to see you every time you have an appointment, you can’t help but get a little attached.
-Till next time! Melissa Bruce
Below: Bosco doing his recall training.