It’s no secret that Cooper has had his fair share of behavioral “issues” that we’ve been working through since he joined us in January. He had severe separation anxiety, which lead to Houdini-antics and destruction. Potty training was slow and tedious. I can say with a pretty high level of confidence that we’ve worked through these things pretty darn well so far. However, Cooper’s one issue that seems to stick around is going to be the hardest one to work on – and is probably the one that has kept him from finding his furever home so far: Fear.
Cooper is still not a big fan of other dogs who he doesn’t know. Since Coop has been looking for his People for seven months now, Agape thought it might be a good idea to try something new to help Cooper work though his anxiety. So, we called dog trainer extraordinaire Kat Martin once again, and enrolled Cooper in Agility class.
The theory behind using Agility as a tool to help with anxiety is two-prong: 1) We’re putting Cooper in a situation that makes him a little uncomfortable, but we’re giving something to focus his energy on instead of the other dogs in the class, and 2) We’re hoping that Coop will learn to associate having fun with being around other dogs.
So how’s he doing so far? Spoiler alert: he freakin’ ROCKS at it.
These are video clips from Cooper’s third Agility class. As you can see, he’s a natural! It’s funny that Kat, Foster Dad and I all describe him as “fearless” on the obstacles, since Cooper is in this class to deal with his fear! Even more impressive to me and Foster Dad is how relaxed Cooper was by the end of class, even when he was in close proximity to the other dogs. He still has a “threshold” of closeness that he can tolerate, but we’re noticing the distance getting smaller and smaller. And, by the end of the most recent class, Cooper was so relaxed that he decided to lay down in the grass and chill.
I wouldn’t be more proud if Cooper brought home a hundred Agility medals.
If Cooper has leaped and bounded into your heart, please fill out an adoption application with Agape Animal Rescue.
…and don’t forget to VOTE for COOPER!