Not ever having had a dog before, we didn’t realize that they could be changed. One of our biggest issues was the fact that she always pulled us when we walked her on a leash. She is a strong dog, and she pulled on her leash all the time, particularly if she saw a squirrel. On one occasion after a walk, I returned home with an abrasion on my hand from the nylon leash being pulled out of my hand. On several other occasions, we were forced to just let her go or risk having an arm pulled out of the socket… Soon I became concerned about being pulled to the ground when the winter weather arrived. Sadly, my 8 year-old son could not walk the dog that he had wanted so badly.
Some of her other issues were; barking furiously whenever she saw another dog, even if it was on the other side of the street; barking from inside our house as people walked by, particularly if they had a dog with them; barking when the door bell rang would ring; and barking when anyone walked into our yard or our house. What tipped the scale for us is when Sally began to show a little aggressive behavior toward people. It was only once in a while, but for us, it was very scary.
We got the name of a trainer who agreed to come to our house, and Sally and I were outside when she arrived. Sally jumped up at her, and based on this behavior, the trainer refused to go near her. So she observed Sally from afar while giving me directions on how to work with her. She suggested we use a Gentle Leader to stop the pulling. So we tried it, and it did help with that. However, it did not change her behavior, and she continued to still lunge at squirrels. It was just a band aid, and if she wasn’t wearing the Gentle Leader; she would go right back to her old ways. We also worked on the behavior of barking at other dogs, and there was some improvement; but after the second visit, I never scheduled another session, and she never bothered to follow-up. It just wasn’t the right fit for us.
One day while I was at my vet’s office discussing Sally’s behavior, one of the assistants gave me the brochure for Canine Magic. Her words were, “She is amazing! I don‘t know how she does it.” So I contacted Terry to find out about her services. Terry met Sally and felt that she could work with all of Sally’s behaviors. At first we were shocked at the cost. However, after we calculated what it would have cost with the other trainer, in addition to the weekly classes, we realized it was a good deal and something we really needed to do.
Our first training session with Terry was amazing. She just put a lead on Sally and took control. Sally responded very well, and after only one hour, Sally no longer pulled on her leash! We went home and practiced walking her, in addition to the other training techniques Terry had given us. We had three private sessions, and then attended the weekly classes. The classes were a great reinforcement for Sally to learn what was expected of her. She soon became a star student in the class! Today, Sally is a different dog… She now heels and is a pleasure to walk, and we often walk her off leash too, and when we come to a corner, she looks to us for direction on which way to go. She no longer chases squirrels or barks at other dogs (even if they bark at her), and when she sees “her friends”, she sits and waits for her command to “go play”. When we have company, she sits and waits for permission to go greet them.
Where ever we go, people always comment on how well trained she is. As a matter of fact; shortly after beginning to work with Terry, Sally and I were walking along one of our usual routes when a woman stopped to comment on how far Sally had come. Although we had never spoken before, she still had noticed us, and the progression Sally had made.
Sally is a beautiful dog who has always been noticed for her looks, but now she is also noticed for her good behavior, and it feels really good! We realize that her training is ongoing, and we continue to reinforce and practice all that we’ve learned. I am not sure where we would be today if we had not worked with Terry!
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