Case Study

Noise phobic Springer Spaniel

Owner: Alison and Steve
Dog: Alfie
Breed: Springer Spaniel
Location: West Coker

Alfie is a 12 year old Springer Spaniel who had always lived with another Springer and stayed at home when his owners went on holiday. Following a traumatic experience as a young dog he was very phobic about thunder and lightening and fireworks to the point of injuring himself in his panic. He also suffered from seperation anxiety and would wander off from home occassionally. He was overweight, had a skin condition and many lumps and bumps that are benign but quite large. Following the death of hiscompanion dog his owners were at a loss as to what to do with him when they went on holiday as their house sitter had retired and he had never been in kennels and they knew he would struggle to cope with this environment. As I am a friend of their son in laws they asked if I could possibly look after him for 10 days and as he seemed to mix well with my dogs I agreed....they didn't mention the thunder phobia!

The first few nights he had to sleep in our room as he was very anxious about being in a new place and he certainly could not stay in the kennel, he also had never been crated and it took several days to encourage him to travel in the crates in my van. He was settling well and enjoying his walks and a diet change and he had progressed to sleeping in the front room by the third night when we were awoken at 4am by a tremendous crashing sound. It was a storm and Alfie was throwing himself into all the furniture in a blind panic. I quickly guided him into a small room, pulled the blind and turned on some music as well as making a den out of a duvet and talking and stroking him under it. It took several hours for him to calm down.

I then began a programme of desensitization using the Noise phobia CD. He went back to his owners walking better on the lead, his coat looking improved as I had switched him to raw diet, slimmer and generally a calmer dog. They have continued with his diet change and increased exercise and following several other visits for holiday stays he is now completely relaxed during thunder and lightening and fireworks, is generally calmer in the home, has much improved mobility and is considerably slimmer. He also looks years younger and people now guess his age as 5 or 6!

Testimonial: Thank you so much for all you have done for Alfie, I can't believe how much he has changed and no longer worries about storms or fireworks! The raw diet has been fabulous for him too, he looks like a different dog.
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