Meet Bozley; The Spotlight Dog August 2023
Bozley is a very attractive, very large white Labrador with a face that says, ‘hug me.’
At one time, Bozley’s owner, Jessica, had big plans for him to be a therapy dog. However, a terrible experience at a training facility followed by an attack by two dogs left Bozley with permanent scars inside from which he couldn’t fully recover.
Plans nowadays are to walk with Mom and not have anxiety. They just want to enjoy each other’s company and have a quiet, happy life with Bozley being the special boy he is.
I met Bozley in scent class where I was very impressed with his desire to work and his focus in spite of the distractions. I found Bozley to be very gregarious and happy with just the occasional episode of reactivity.
His owner tells the story best:
“For the last year and a half, I’ve done no extra work with him. He walks nightly to the mailbox and back with my husband, who he seems to be a little more relaxed with. Unfortunately, I have anxiety as well and he and I tend to feed into each other’s anxiety. When at home, he loves everyone. He accepts new pups with slow proper introductions. But outside the house he is unpredictable.
I decided that he and I need to work THROUGH our anxiety. Part of mine is that he is a very large dog. If I don’t react quickly enough, or someone else doesn’t respond with their dog- someone can get hurt. I’m very aware of it and I feel like I unintentionally feed that to him. I’m always on high alert looking out for dogs and watching to see if the owners are paying attention. But I can’t correct mine or his behavior if we don’t get out and practice and learn to trust each other. Thus, the Scent Work classes.
After speaking to Brandy and Wren they encouraged me to try Scent Work with him. He is very nosy and sniffs everything. I agreed and intended to watch and have my husband work him. After the 1st class I realized I needed to work with him. We would be scared together but we BOTH needed to work through our fear. Scent Work class was nice because the dogs were able to be spaced far enough apart that it gave Bozley space. I learned he is triggered by high energy dogs. We worked on focusing when he would start getting anxious. The other class members were kind and gracious to us. He had outbursts but responded to corrections. Wren was there to give pointers. More importantly, he loved scent work and has a “nose” for it. He and I are still working through anxiety, but we intend to take more classes this fall and continue working and hopefully we will trust enough to be able to enjoy a walk down the road and just enjoy it without anxiety. We are a work in progress.”