Georgie the retired guide dog.

This is Georgie. One of the strange cases we see from time to time. Georgie is almost 9 years old; she has been a guide dog all her life, now retired she lives with Sue. Sue has been a guide dog puppy walker for many years. Sue was Georgie’s puppy walker when she was just 12 weeks old and has known her all her working life. Georgie retired approximately a year ago and sue has owned her since her retirement. Sue contacted the Academy because Georgie had become aggressive, she had shown aggression to one or two dogs when on her walks. However, over the last few weeks her behaviour had become so bad she had now bitten two dogs. These dogs had not shown her any aggression, but had startled her, coming from behind or out the long grass.

We made an appointment to meet Georgie, at our first consultation we performed a temperament test. She had shown no fear or aggression to people. She did show some anxiety to noise and stressful situations. Very unusual for a trained guide dog.  We performed our test for dementia and Alzheimer’s, however apart from the normal affects of age Georgie did not present any normal indications of the condition. Georgie had been to the veterinarian and her behaviour was ruled out as a nonmedical condition. The vet thought this could be a behavioural problem, as the dog had no work and was becoming frustrated. When performing our testing of Georgie’s temperament Georgie was tense in her abdomen area.  Quite often something we see in pets as it is a none-skeletal area with the bladder and kidneys and other internal organs and can make a dog tense as you pupate the area. We had Sue perform some behaviour modification training over a few weeks, and the aggression was lessoned. Her recall came on very well and sue reported it was pretty much back to normal, as it was with the other exercises. Sue had her performing the training daily. Georgie’s behaviour got much better, however the bad behaviour she had been exhibiting had not completely gone. We asked Sue to make an appointment for Georgie at her veterinarians so we could have more extensive test done, to see if we could determine if the aggression could be pain related, especially in the hip area, as we know Labradors can suffer from hip dysplasia, a hereditary condition that courses pain on the hip joints. Sue made the appointment for Georgie to have x-rays and abdominal scans. I will let Sue take the story from here.

Graham Canine Behaviourist and head of training, to The Happy Dog Training Academy.

Sue 10 day ago

Just a quick note to bring you up to speed about Georgie. The advice you gave me around improving Georgie's behaviour worked really well, her recall became perfect, and she was much better on the lead and entering and exiting the house. However, she was still anxious around small giddy dogs and would attack if they came too close. We have since found out that Georgie has had a cancer growing in her spleen, I think this has given her discomfort and is why she didn't want dogs running at her. The cancer has been removed and although I understand her life is time limited, she has become a carefree playful dog again.  Thank you for your advice I will implement it with any other dogs I have.