I live in the Midlands, UK, work in I.T. as a Manager and have two grown up daughters. I have 2 Romanian rescue dogs, Nutmeg from Amicii Romania Rescue and Luna from Last Chance Rescue Romania. I volunteered for 2 years with the UK based support team for a Romanian rescue doing admin, virtual home checks, settling in calls and as required support calls for issues adopters were having with their new dog. I successfully homed 75 dogs in this time. I currently do support calls as part of the Rescue Backup service for a Romanian and UK rescue. This work with the rescues has exposed me to many behavioural issues which can occur with rescue dogs.
My own two dogs have given us some challenges, particularly Nutmeg who is extremely sensitive to the world around her and this led to a number of issues we have worked through. I was inspired by my experiences with my own dogs and the rescues to learn more about canine behaviour and do formal training. In May 2022 I decided to start this venture with a view to helping other rescue dogs.
I completed 'Introduction to Solving Dog Behaviour Problems' (distinction - level2/3 diploma) and 'Foundations of Canine Behaviour Management' (distinction - level 3 diploma) with Compass. I did the Separation Related Behaviours ISCP short course and have used ISCP for my level 5 'Canine Behaviour' diploma (completed with distinction, allowing me to use the letters ISCP.Dip.Canine.Prac and the title 'Canine Behaviour Practitioner'). Continued Professional Development is ongoing to keep current in knowledge for example I recently attended the Victoria Stilwell sponsored Dog Behaviour Conference, and a one day case-studies review with IMDTB.
Nutmeg was found with 3 siblings, in a banana box left on the side of the road in Romania at around 2 months. All 4 puppies had parvovirus and sadly Nutmeg's siblings all died from it. Nutmeg was nursed back to health by Amicii and an amazing Romanian foster mum who cared for her until she travelled to me in February 2019 aged 4 months. I had 3 months off work to be with her and she settled well, albeit always a little nervous. We had great walks in the countryside together and she went to puppy socialisation/training which she loved. She was a friendly and loving puppy.
2019 - When I returned to work in May, with Nutmeg aged 7 months, she went to Doggy Daycare those days I wasn't work from home, which she enjoyed but in hindsight this was a mistake, I believe it contributed significantly to her reactivity. In the summer we did lots of fun dog shows which she seemed to like, quite a few rosettes won (prettiest female rescue dog for example) and she was fine around other dogs with the odd exception. She had become reactive to cyclists, motor bikes and lorries. In the autumn we went to Kennel Club obedience training which she was less keen on, not as fun as puppy training had been. Nutmegs reactivity to other dogs on lead was getting worse throughout adolescence. In November Luna arrived.
2020 - Early in the year we took Nutmeg out of daycare and got in a dog walker/sitter who she adored (and still adores !)
Summer and her reactivity to dogs was consistently bad and she started to show different anxiety based issues including snapping at Luna a couple of times. We got in a qualified behaviourist who gave me great advice on handling a nervous and reactive dog. Work started on addressing the stress and reactivity issues.
2021 - by Feb when she turned 2 years old the reactivity to cyclists, motor bikes and lorries had stopped but reactivity to dogs was still bad. During the months running to June she snapped at Luna a few times and on 3 occasions I got a redirected bite getting in between them both. Reactivity to people became more of a concern as we continued to largely not see anyone due to COVID, and we started muzzle training 'just in case'. There was a very bad trip to the vets for her yearly vaccination where the vet was not 'force-free' with her. During the second half of the year we got her stress under control and her overall behaviour vastly improved, reactivity greatly reduced. We loved our decompression walks. Sadly end of year we did have a bite incident (see blog post), caused largely I believe by some steroid medication.
2022 - She has been brilliant, calm, well behaved and reactivity episodes are rare.
She is loving once she knows you, intelligent and enjoys nothing more than being a dog, tracking scents and mooching slowly around any area where small furries can be found. She has given me unbelievable emotional support throughout some health issues I have had.
She can bark for England so managing that is an ongoing effort. She has an insane prey (chase) drive (- she broke my shoulder pulling me over as her and Luna both lunged at a squirrel ), so no off-lead unless in a secure field, you can't fight the sighthound genetics!
Luna was found on the street in Romania, aged 4 months, clinging to a road sign in a storm. A kind lady took her to Last Chance Rescue who cared for her until she travelled to us November 2019 aged 7 months. Far more laid back than her 'sister', settled very quickly. Some minor reactivity to certain people and dogs, and some resource guarding (she did get thrown out of Doggy Day Care for not letting other dogs play with toys!) but generally very happy and funny, she makes us laugh a lot. Loves her food and walks. She loves to play with Nutmeg outside but can be a little nervous of her in the house where she respects Nutmegs right to go first and not risk a nasty reaction from her. Passed Kennel Club Beginner training.