2011 April

A guide dog with behaviour problems

by Evelien van de Kamp

Karel is a Dutch long-haired German shepherd dog. The first time I saw him, he was 10 months old and had just started his training as a guide dog for the blind. After an initial good start, he became hyperactive, circling the whole day in his kennel; he was completely unreachable until he was let out, then he made contact. Once out, he was hyperactive, chasing everything – cats, joggers, birds, and even fast cars. When brought back to his kennel, the contact with him was again lost. It became impossible to train him.

He ought to weigh about 40 kilos, according to his race and his age, but he only weighed 27 kilos and his hip bones and ribs stuck far out of his furry coat. He was well fed on a good brand diet, made especially for large dogs. He ate everything but it came out almost undigested, with constant loose stools.

Guide dogs live their first year in a guest home with children, where they are cherished and constantly accompanied. The dog learns everything along the way; he goes to the market, comes in the car, and learns the little things, such as ignoring other dogs and sitting before crossing the street. At the end of that year, he is taken away from his family and goes into formal training, which in practice means being put in a kennel until he is let out for walks or for training. Many dogs cope with this system but some do not. In human terms, one could say that these dogs go from heaven to hell. Some dogs undergo a completely change of character and display unacceptable behaviour, which was the case with Karel.

He was the first guide dog brought to me for treatment. The owners had very little faith – neither in him nor in homeopathy as such. I was told that he was being put on probation while the training continued, then two weeks later, I heard that he was disqualified for the training and had even been put on the list for euthanasia. He was regarded as a hopeless case, completely disturbed. There was nothing to lose, though, and I was allowed to try my best for him!

I gave him Iodum C200, twice, based on his obsessive behaviour, his digestion, his impulsiveness, and his history of “losing his home” – a major theme of Iodum, according to Jan Scholten. He improved enormously and after two weeks of being let out every two hours, his digestion was back to normal: he ate well, his stools were firm, and he could hold them in. He was disqualified from training and began a new life. He was lively, cheerful, and enthusiastic but the problems were not completely over yet. His impulsive behaviour continued; he acted impulsively and frightened people by chasing them for fun, with a big smile on his face. When he reached them, he would bark twice, wag his tail, and then turn around; he did not bite. Being in a car was also a problem. The idea that it had to do with small spaces was verified by his behaviour in confined places such as lifts. He was a typical example of “all bark but no bite”; afraid of things that others would find normal. He had diarrhea from anticipation. His character was open and he made contact with everyone.

He was given Argentum nitricum 200C, which again helped him enormously. This was given frequently in the course of the following years and the improvement continued. Finally, he became a wonderful dog, who charmed everyone with his charisma. His weight was around 47 kilos, without much fat.

He died recently of old age and his ashes were scattered on one of our favorite places on this beautiful island (Schiermonnikoog). I would like to dedicate this article to him, one of the nicest, most fun dogs I’ve ever known. 


Thankfully, the training for guide dogs has changed since Karel’s time; these days dogs often live at home with their trainers.

Photos: Wikimedia Commons
11 week old German shepherd puppy. Head profile; Marilyn Peddle
Pastor alemán gallego; Albert Galliza



Keywords: hyperactive, unreachable, impulsive, loss of home, digestive problems, weight loss
Remedies: Argentum nitricum, Iodium


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