Dogs who come to pranaDOGS are dealing with a behavior issue of some type. In order for them to get through these, we need to set up the environment – and the dogs – in a way to optimize success. We start with a solid routine and adequate sleep. So many dogs in shelters and uncomfortable situations don’t get enough sleep, which like us, makes them irritable and not the best learners. Next we ensure they’re getting enough nutrients and we ensure they’re not in any pain. So many dogs have gotten good at hiding their pain that it can go unnoticed, but it can be key in a dog who’s struggling or not thriving.

Meet Kai, a beautiful medium-sized, black and white boy who has ears as big as old baseball gloves. Kai came to us in September of this year with an interesting history. At 4 months old he was pulled from his life on the streets – an age many trainers would say is the end of their socialization period. Not only was he living on the streets, his leg had been previously broken and was infected. Our poor boy had to fend for himself while he was in pain and dealing with an untreated injury, through his most impressionable months.

By growing up on the streets, Kai had never been handled by a person, and certainly not a doctor who was going to touch areas he had been protecting. He lashed out and quickly gained a reputation as a dog who had Fear Aggression. His parents may have had success working him through these issues but unfortunately Kai ended up having a handful of additional, painful medical issues that resulted in him returning to the vet for a tooth extraction and an ACL tear resulting in a plate within 18 months.

When we’re in pain, it takes over our world. It can consume us and mess with our heads. When dogs are in pain it’s hard to get them to focus, probably for the same reasons. Additionally, many dogs are keen to ensure other dogs don’t know they’re in pain so they hide it. But when dogs are in pain they’re quick to lash out. They tend to have a shorter fuse and much less patience.

Pain is huge, if you’re in pain it often takes over your world and everything you do.  When pain is involved for dogs it’s harder for them to be patient or tolerant, they’re often quicker to flinch and snap and they have a difficult time learning. So it’s key to get the medical issues addressed in order to have any chance at success with behavior issues.

As for Kai, we’re working on Kai’s tolerance to handling everyday. He is no longer on Prozac or regarded as Fear Aggressive. Like anyone who has had joint issues, he’ll feel them as he gets older but it hasn’t diminished his huge heart or his love of people, adventures and life.

Kai is currently available for adoption, learn more about him here.