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3 year old
English Golden Retriever, male, neutered
Obsessive Compulsive Behavior

Description of Behavior
Lucca has been a part of the family since puppyhood. He developed obsessive compulsive behaviors that were becoming quite distressful to his family.

"We had an experience with Lucca during the early days of his training, when he was eating lots of sticks, pine cones, etc., on his walks, that demonstrates how effective the Tellington Touch Method can be. Lucca was exhibiting signs of serious gastro-intestinal stress, so we decided to use the Belly Lift Ttouch since it is supposed to be good for digestive problems. After a few series of lifts using a folded towel, Lucca threw up a large piece of fossilized wood that could have caused a serious obstruction or blockage in his intestines. We were so grateful to have had the knowledge of the Telllington Touch Method, which avoided a health crisis for Lucca."

He would scoop, grab, eat and swallow sticks, stones, pine cones, seashells and other nasty things. He pulled hair from his body and pulled on his tail and thigh. He obsessively licked, did teeth chattering when excited. The behavior became even worse when in his own backyard. His family could not take him for walks, or relax around him worrying about what he was eating or swallowing next. He was sensitive to fireworks, metal grates or metal of any kind, and getting on the elevator was a huge challenge.

Add to the above stress behaviors such as freezing on walks. What we had was a super sensitive, stressed dog exhibiting obsessive compulsive behaviors.

Owner's Goals
To curb Luccas anxiety to chew on objects that might affect his health (i.e. pine cones; seashells; sticks) and to redirect and retrain to more suitable choices and to reduce freezing episodes on walks that start from the home base.

In addition Lucca had a few skills to learn: meet and greet properly; no pulling on the lead; how to play indoors and outdoors.

Behavior Modification and Training Strategy Chosen
The first objective was to let this dog experience a state of calm through three session of only Tellington Touch bodywork, so we could then change his behavior from a point of readiness to focus and learn. We added non-confrontational training clicker and reward-based strategies. A full training program involving alternative behavior development, impulse control, retrieving and much more fills Luccas day.

The Effect
Today Lucca is not only able to walk for up to an hour in the woods and on dike trails and for shorter periods on ocean beaches, but is also a certified therapy dog. This job allows him to have many additional experiences and to focus his attention on a worthwhile venture, rather than on devouring the environment around him. He is able to make the decision on his own (impulse control) not to grab and chew and can now play for short periods of supervised time in his backyard. He has fewer freezing instances and has been able to eagerly go into elevators without problem. His family can take him to crowded places, on trips (recently to Whistler in Vancouver Canada) and for quiet walks filled with sticks, stones, horse manure, and a variety of other challenging types of objects. He is a joy. His owner says, Diane is extraordinarily skilled at working with dogs and their people. Thanks to Diane, Lucca is a much happier dog and we are a much happier family.

Overview of Result
Lucca still needs to continue his training, but digresses are fewer and further between, while progresses just keep increasing.

Thoughts for Future Sessions and Follow Up
Tellington Touch obstacle coursework and further advanced impulse control work coupled with attention work and advanced skill work.

After TTouch, I have been able to take Chelsea back to the dog park with comments from friends (who have no idea that we are practicing Ttouch on her) that she has mellowed, become accepting of all dogs.

- W.K.
Langley, Washington

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