We agreed to foster Pepper with the intention of adopting her if everything worked out well with our other two dogs – a Springer spaniel and an old Labrador.
Pepper came to us just over two years ago, a beautiful affectionate Sprocker, very fluffy, and with an aggressive nature towards other dogs, born of fear, and also a dislike of being handled or groomed (not particularly useful for such a fluffy sprocker!!). Other than that, she was happy and healthy and (after a few initial issues, quickly resolved!) fitted in well with the others.
A few days after picking her up, we were due to attend an agility show with Millie the Springer, and we took Pepper along with Blue the lab, just for the experience. Well! It was like having a rabid dog on the end of the lead, she was so scared and so aggressive, despite our best attempts to reassure her and calm her. At that point we wondered what we were letting ourselves in for!
Move on a week or two, and we decided to start Pepper on agility training, too. This would give her a focus and a “job” while getting her used to mixing with other trusted dogs belonging to agility friends. There was no way that we could remove her from encounters with other dogs so we had to try to get her to deal with her fear. We were so lucky to be able to call on the expertise of Keri, SAR’s behaviourist, who met with us, saw the situation first-hand, and had Pepper behaving herself within about 10 minutes flat! She gave us the strategies and, more importantly, the confidence to deal with Pepper’s terror and aggression and keep it within manageable levels for both our sakes!
We also worked with the grooming issues and can now put her on a table and brush her regularly. She even knows to jump up on the garden table herself when she sees the grooming tools coming out! What a star!
Over the past two years, a lot of training and hard work has seen Pepper go from what she was to a lovely, affectionate, happy agility dog who will happily encounter any dog when out and about without turning into a raving beast! She is such a delight to have, (although her cuddles can cut off your oxygen supply if you’re not ready for them!) and we don’t know what we would do without her!
Thanks to all at SAR for allowing us to adopt this lovely soul, and for all their ongoing support.
Sometimes it’s difficult, but it’s always worth it!!