Case Studies

Trinity Vet Behaviour - Case Study - Sabine

Name: Sabine

Age: 7

Breed: Labrador X Cahuna

Sabine is a medium sized Labrador Cross dog whom I met shortly after he and his family had relocated from the US to the UAE.

Sabine had reportedly always been an anxious dog with the main concern being how he behaved towards familiar and unfamiliar people that came to the home. Sabine’s pet parents found it very difficult to have any visitors come over to the house as Sabine would bark and lunge at them and even make contact with them in form of a “muzzle punch”.

With a young family and very busy lives, Sabine’s pet parents were keen to introduce a nanny for the children to the home but were very worried about how Sabine would respond to this and whether this was going to be a possibility for them at all.

After a thorough consultation during which I was able to observe Sabine and obtain a full behavioural history, we set about creating a tailor-made treatment plan for Sabine.

One thing I observed about Sabine initially was that both his hind legs looked somewhat weak and upon questioning, Sabine showed some signs of discomfort when walking up and down the stairs at home.

I therefore suggested that Sabine have an orthopedic examination and X-rays of his hips and hind limbs performed, which revealed signs of hip dysplasia.

Pain management was therefore a big part of Sabine’s treatment plan, together with a multi-modal approach to Sabine’s behaviour consisting of management strategies, anti-anxiety medication and a behaviour modification plan with our wonderful in-house trainer. A careful introduction protocol of the nanny to the home was a big part of this plan and the nanny is now a fully integrated member of the household whom Sabine is very comfortable with.

Name: George

Age: 4

Breed: Rhodesian Ridgeback

George is a gorgeous 60 kg Rhodesian Ridgeback, a breed normally known for their bravery and confidence as lion hunters in Africa.

George, however, was presented to my Behaviour Clinic as his owners noticed that he was excessively anxious in many situations and showed specific fear-related behaviours, especially when unfamiliar people and visitors entered the home and when he encountered other dogs on walks, all of whom he would growl and bark at. The most recent visitor that came to the home received a bite to the leg, which prompted the appointment with us.

During George’s initial consultation, he was so fearful and anxious that he was not able to leave the security of the family car, so we decided to perform the 2 hour consultation in the car where he felt most comfortable, in order to assess both his behavioural history as well his current behaviour and body language signs.

It became apparent very quickly just how anxious George was and how it was affecting many aspects of his life as well as his physical health. George was becoming more and more difficult to manage and his behaviours were becoming dangerous to others.

Together with George’s family, we created a multi-modal and individualised treatment plan for him, ensuring that everyone felt comfortable with and able to execute the plan.

2 months after our initial consultation, George came back for a follow up appointment and happily jumped out of the car and entered the consultation room.

George’s family reported a significant improvement in George’s behaviour with George being much calmer, sleeping and resting more and wagging his tail and playing again, something which he had not done in a long time.

The management tools that we gave George’s family enabled them to prevent further incidents of aggressive behaviours and his physical health had also improved significantly.

The picture of George at the beach was taken 7 months after our first consultation and, with the help of our amazing Positive Reinforcement Trainer, George is now able to enjoy walks and the outdoor lifestyle without feeling anxious or threatened by other dogs !