The 4 years since we adopted Sunny have been a rollercoaster of emotions, from the joy of having a new four legged family member to the despair of thinking we would have to give him up.
Sunny was very quiet and subdued for the first few months he was with us, but happily started coming out of his shell. He then became a very bold boy and started pushing his boundaries. A call to SGS follow ups gave us good advice and training techniques. We tried and tried and thought we were improving.
The advice we received from other hound owners was invaluable and very much appreciated. We always took this home to try, but it didn't seem to make much difference. Sunny was becoming unpredictable and stubborn. He growled when he didn't get his own way. He charged around picking up whatever available object he could and chewed to destruction. We were becoming stressed to say the least and this of course made Sunny even more stressed. It was exhausting. My girls were tiring of him and I was becoming increasingly worried that a bite may ensue. It wouldn't be Sunny's fault, but just the fact that we didn't have our dog/human relationship right. Sadly rehoming was becoming an option for us. I could not carry on in such a stressed household.
Sunny had many good points. He was a dream to walk, no issues with any dogs, including wee ones although he would growl when off lead dogs ran circles round him, telling them to back off. He was patient with food and slept all night without bother. He was not an overtly cuddly boy but happy to be petted by whoever. He could be easily distracted from cats and the like, and we loved him.
But, at the end of the road and feeling out my depth, I was advised to seek advice from Claire in her behaviourist role.I have to say i didn't feel too optimistic. How wrong I was.
We had one hour with Claire and a follow up. In that short space of time Sunny became a totally different dog in our eyes. And I think he feels like a totally different dog. Claire has enabled us to be consistent with rules and boundaries. She gave us techniques to deal with his stubborn behaviour and gave me my voice back when dealing with him.
I am truly truly amazed by how quickly his behaviour turned around. We feel so positive He always gave us the odd cuddle but now he curls around and hides his head under our arms..... frequently. There has been one growl since this process started and he actually does what he is told most of the time. But more importantly, he seems relaxed, and we are relaxed. We can deal with the issues that arise and he knows that we know how to deal with it.
Don't get me wrong, I am sure if a roast chicken happens to be sitting on the work top, he isn't going to stop himself and say " oops ....I'm not allowed...I mustn't". But that is the joy of owning one of these lovely dogs. I totally "get it ".
We have had Sunny a long time now and it was awful to think we were failing him........he is here for the duration and we love this big daft boy so much......
I can highly recommend Claire for anyone else who finds themselves in this situation, her help has been invaluable.