Merlin has done a complete 180 on his behavior. When we first met he was terrified of literally EVERYTHING!
We had to move him into his own area several times in puppy classes as he was so overwhelmed.
Now, he loves dogs and loves people. He even gets a bit frustrated when he can’t go and see them.
Merlin has hit his adolescence and on top of this, his guardians have been having work done to the house that has him all wound up. Walks became really difficult, and some of his training went off the window, including his loose leash walking and pulling towards people.
This is pretty normal, in adolescence, the prefrontal cortex (thinking part of the brain) reduces inactivity, and the amygdala (emotions/arousal part of the brain) goes into overdrive. This is usually temporary, and as long as you manage them from picking up new habits, usually, go back to normal after a few months.
We decided that the best option for Merlin was to condition him to wear a head halter. This meant that if he had one of his moments, his guardian could keep full control since he’s a pretty big and powerful dog now!
Funnily enough, since Merlin was always terrified of dogs then flipped to being far too over-aroused by them, Merlin had never actually been allowed to interact with a dog for any real amount of time. This means that he hasn’t had the socialization or learned how to interact with other dogs.
To sort this, we put him on a long line and let him have a run around with my black GSD, Bella.
We made sure we kept control of his arousal when he got too much to teach him he doesn’t get to interact when he’s pushy (and because letting another dog do all the work just isn’t fair on the other dog). Bella was a fab teacher, she made clear when it was playtime v sniffy time v eating time.
All in all, Merlin is a lovely dog and will do great!