"The day we finally got Byron to get in the car by himself was my birthday. This was the best birthday present. Couldn't rate Darren highly enough. His dedication to helping dogs get over their issues is second to none. Byron hadn't been near the car in 9 months and is now, thanks to Darren, enjoying many great adventures. Long may it continue!"
Byron is a Golden Retriever and was 18 months old when he started working with Darren. A beautiful bouncy boy as fabulous as his name. He had however refused to get in any car for over 9 months. At 40kg he was not exactly pickupable!!! If you did manage to get him in he would panic distressing both him and owner. This meant his walks were now restricted to local, although living in a fabulous area with many trails, his owners also wanted to enjoy the beaches and forests only a short drive away. It caused other issues, vet's needed to be called out to him (at cost) and weekends away were no longer an option.
Retrievers can be as stubborn as they are bright and the training plan focused on building his confidence to the point that he would once again associate the car with fun and adventure. During the 8 session training a number of methods were deployed to build his confidence, some successful, some he laughed at and others....well! The final breakthrough came in the oddest way. But Darren is persistent and he had a light bulb moment and one sunny day built a car alongside the car......
The objective agreed was to get him to climb into the car on his own and allow the door to be closed with him happy and calm. Once this was achieved there was to be a journey to the beach and a long walk. He then needed to climb back in happily for the journey home (no one wanted to get him somewhere and then not be able to get back!!!!!) . Darren built a plan with Byron's owners setting out the different stages he thought would be needed and gaining their commitment to practice in between and be open to flexing the plan based on response.
His first long walk at the end of his first car journey in 9 months was on his owners birthday and she described it as the best birthday present. Byron is now enjoying daily walks filled with variety no matter how far afield.