Exceptions to the rule

When there are exceptions to the rule.... sometimes the rules must be thrown out the window and we must devise a unique system of strategies for a very unique individual. I have encountered this a few times and one of those time was with one of my own dog's who when I got him was the most severe anxiety case that I have worked with to date. There are a few common corner stones when dealing with anxiety cases like rules/boundaries, accountability, mental and physical exercise, calm duration work and a solid crate routine. Typically anxiety cases do best with a strict and structured crating routine... something predictable and comforting. But not always. Sometimes the confinement of the crate creates anxiety. He was the exception to the 'rule'. This training stuff (especially for the more unusual/extreme behavioural cases) really requires an open mind and an inventive approach. Some dogs have inherent quirks that are just part of who they are. Training can make them ten thousand times happier, 'normal', and better behaved... but there is still that part of their personality that can't be altered by training. It's the uniqueness that makes them who they are and something I would never want to change but it also comes with its challenges that means these dogs need a very specialized lifestyle and an ultra observant handler to maintain the dog's mental health. A lot of dogs can simply be 'fixed' and then maintained but there are also a lot if dogs that, although they can be massively improved, they must be managed lifelong. No different than people, there are people who are prone to mental challenges like depression or anxiety and these folks have to manage themselves through medication and therapy life long to maintain good mental health. We're all different and we all require different amounts of support in different areas to live the best possible lives and that's perfectly ok! In fact I believe that individuality is what is truly 'normal' and it's what makes us all unique interesting and wonderful. Dogs are the same. Some need lifelong support to ensure their best mental health and best life quality... and there's nothing wrong with that! 😊

Kristen Cameron