Meet Ruby the Cavachon
Ruby was a city dog who lived in Coventry. This meant she enjoyed a lot of city life and the busy streets. Ruby’s owners then moved to enjoy the quiet life in Shropshire with the countryside and rolling hills. This was great for Ruby as she now had open hillsides to enjoy off lead walks and lots of running around. However Ruby suddenly realised that mythical creatures do exist, called cows.
This meant that for Ruby’s owners, when cows were around, it become hard for them, as Ruby would bark and attract the cows over, leading to Ruby wanting to run away. This was manageable, as they avoided cows on walks, until cows moved in the field at the bottom of their garden! Therefore, they contacted Forrest Animal Behaviour for help.
During the consultation we found that Ruby was scared of cows and would use her bark to try to get more space, in an attempt to move the cows away, even though it had the opposite effect.
Therefore, for her behavioural plan we worked on making good things happen when cows were around and desensitising her to the sight of them. This involved working a large distance from cows and later reduce the distance between Ruby and the cows over time.
It allowed us to teach Ruby that it was more rewarding to look calmly at the cows with no barking or to give her owners eye contact instead. This helped to reduce her anxiety towards the cows and reduced the need to bark, as she felt safe and confident, with her new coping strategies.
Ruby’s owners worked hard over a few months and now she can walk calmly though fields of cows when at reasonable distances and not feel the need to bark or run away. She still needs some help at home when the cows are in the field below the garden, however this is improving each time they come and visit in the garden.