Behavior Patient Profile: Riley

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“Riley was always a playful puppy. She loved the off-leash dog park. While her play style was rough, we never saw a problem. One day a new dog joined the dog park and a fight between Riley and the other dog broke out. The other dog was injured and had to be taken to the hospital.

We hired a trainer right away and didn’t go back to the park. More than a year later, while Riley was playing in the backyard she slipped by me and hurt another dog who was on a walk with their owner. I was beside myself and again called the trainer.

We made a plan to secure our backyard. Unfortunately, Riley slipped out and again injured another dog. I desperately looked for pet behavior services and found Dr. Wailani Sung at the SF SPCA’s Behavior Specialty Clinic.

During our consultation, Dr. Sung provided multiple recommendations to help Riley. Dr. Sung recommended counter conditioning exercises as well as switching to a harness and gentle lead instead of the chain collar the trainer had recommended. We started Riley on Fluoxetine, which has helped calm her anxiety. These recommendations combined with information for me on how to work with Riley were necessary for Riley and me to succeed.

The bond my family has with Riley now is much stronger after working with Dr. Sung. Riley is less anxious and my family and I better understand her strengths and weakness, making it possible for her thrive in our home.”

Need help with your pet’s behavior issue? Contact the SF SPCA’s Behavior Specialty Services.

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