Things are going very well in the training of Snow. Truly, whoever adopts her despite her being partially deaf will adopt a great friend. She is very gentle and has a lot of love to give.
Day 8: Today I introduced Snow to my yellow Labrador, Windy.I did muzzle Snow at first just in case. Upon introduction I could tell that there wouldn’t be a problem and so quickly removed the muzzle. Windy who is always good about getting a dog to play. Was able to get Snow to chase her for about 15 minutes and then Snow was off looking for squirrels. I also took her for a walk in the park. She still gets excited when she sees a squirrel and needs to be corrected. The good news is that it takes a little less of a struggle to get her to focus on me and not the squirrel.
Days 9 & 10: Introduced her to Fireball, my Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever.Snow thought that Fireball was neat. In fact she was much more interested in trying to play with Fireball than Windy. Of course Fireball is much smaller and Windy is also the Alpha female in the pack. I did have to correct Snow a few times in the beginning, because she kept trying to put her paw on Fireball’s back. The last thing Snow would need is to try to dominate. Fireball corrected her as well. From this point on I always let her out with my dogs. It is so nice to see her just run free in my yard. Her obsession with squirrels makes it so that she’ll play for only a few minutes and then stop and look for squirrels. Once she realizes there are no squirrels she will play with my dogs for a few minutes and again stop looking for squirrels.
Days 11 & 13: Took her to the pet store. She did wonderful. I could see the first time that she went she was nervous. In fact initially it was a struggle to get her to sit. Down forget it. By the second trip she would sit and hold a sit stay.Snow was fine with all the dogs that she saw at the store. Of course she gets excited, but one correction, lots of treats and she would pay attention to me. Snow was wonderful with all the people that approached to give her cookies, even little kids. She did try to lung towards pictures of dogs or cats. The lung was not aggressively but more do you want to play. It is actually kind of funny. You could imagine her surprise when I finally let her run up to a picture and it was just a box. It was too cute.
Day14: Took her to one of our obedience classes that was being taught by Cindi Fleishans. Cindi is a great trainer who is also a certified service dog trainer. What can I say, Snow was great.Of course it took a little to get her to pay attention to me, but in the end did what was asked of her. She even got to say hello to several of the dogs and was good. I have found that she is great with all dogs and really just wants to play. Once I was at the store and a client asked me about the classes that I hold at Pet Supplies Plus in Royal Oak. They had a little Shih Tzu with them and Snow very calmly stood at my side the whole time I talked to the people. Originally I was concerned with little dogs, because of her prey drive. She is fine.
What can I say? Whoever decides to adopt Snow will end up with a great dog. Her food aggression issues are all but gone. I can pet her, have my hand around her bowl and she is absolutely fine. I have also been able to take rawhide from her as well. She is great with people and wants them to pet her. Accepts other dogs and wants to play. The squirrel and cat issue is still a work in progress and it is best that she doesn’t go to a home with cats. I am also working with getting her to come when she is really distracted, but than for safety reasons. Because of not being able to hear very well, Snow will probably never be off leash other than in a back yard. Once again if you are interested in adopting her please contact me.
Meet Snow, a sweet Dalmatian mix that unfortunately is deaf.Snow has a very interesting story as she spent the past two years of her life in a shelter awaiting her forever home. In an effort to give Snow a chance, she was transferred to another shelter where it was discovered that Snow was going to be a difficult placement. Her time away from people seemed to have caused some behavior concerns.
Snow deserves a home…but this is not an easy task for several reasons.
• Thought to be completely deaf.
• Not that food motivated.
• Huge prey drive and will lung at squirrels, cats rabbits etc. (She actually started barking ferociously just at a picture of a cat.)
• Reactive with other dogs.
• Aloof or detached from humans, because of having lived in a kennel for so long.
• Very distracted
This is where Alternative Canine Training comes in. She needs so much special attention that the staff just didn’t have the time. It was decided that the best thing for her was to go Bonny’s Bootcamp.
I picked her up on Monday and was allowed to see her interact in the environment that she felt most comfortable. When I came into the room she approached with a little caution and after a few pets under the chin was one big wag. She was then off into her world. She was very distracted, but I know some of reasons why. If you can’t hear you are more apt to look around to see what is going on. These were my initial observations:
• A happy dog but also a serious and cautious.
• Very athletic and strong
• Very distracted and disinterested in what we were doing.
• Very curious about everything
So off she went to bootcamp. Upon getting her home I noticed several other things. First I quickly realized that she is only partially deaf. She can certainly hear base. So if I clap my hands I know she can hear it. It seems like higher sounds like a high pitch praise are inaudible to her. As always the first 2 days are just getting to know her and to start teaching her to walk perfectly on a leash.Because, I don’t know how many verbal words she can hear; I use more hand signals. So instead of just saying, “Let’s Go” I also slap the side of my leg. I know she can hear the slap.
Snow became very proficient at walking perfectly in the heal position within a day. She would look up at me and for once actually focus. Well until she saw a squirrel. I have seen dogs intent on getting a squirrel.Snow becomes possessed. Her brain literally shuts down to anything around her and would do anything to get at that squirrel. I can see she is used to just bullying her way to get what she wants. She is very strong and so will throw her whole body and pull in the direction of the squirrel or do a back flip trying to pull the leash from your hand and lung again towards the squirrel.
To address the squirrel issue is just a simple matter of making sure she understands what the heel position is. Another words as long as her nose stays behind my leg she will be praised. In Snows case that would be an occasional pat on the head or a treat. Once we are near the squirrel and if she tries to leave the heal position. She gets corrected and getting back to the heal position will produce a treat. Of course when she is trying to focus on the squirrel, Snow could care less about the cookie. Normally in this situation I would praise the dog profusely for staying in the heel position. So the process is going to take a little longer. For now I will just walk through the neighborhood, because of all the Oak trees there are plenty of squirrels. By next week, weather permitting I am planning on walking each day in the park.
Now for some control exercises like sit and sit stay. When I made the hand motion to indicate sit she would totally ignore me. Okay she sniffed my hand to see what I had.I tried 3 different treats and same results. Each time she would see what I had. She showed an interest by the 4th treat, but rump only slightly went down. So I massaged her down as demonstrated on my DVD “Obedience for Life #1”. She is now doing much better at sit and for the rest of this week we will work on ignoring squirrels and sit stay.
I am so fortunate to have the opportunity to work with her and I am glad that it has been decided to give her a chance. She really is a nice dog. In fact had to put her in an Irish Wolfhound size crate, because whenever I approach her crate. Her tail wags so profoundly that I was afraid she might beat the tip off. She really wants to be loved, but doesn’t know how. This stems from her being kenneled most of her life. Next week I will start working on home manners and try to introduce her to my dogs. I’ll keep you posted.
WE ALL NEED A SECOND CHANCE
I received a phone call from Metro Area Animal Adoption Association asking if I could come out to evaluate a dog named Cupid that had developed some aggressive behaviors. Cupid is a Golden Retriever, Chow & German Shepherd mix and he’s about two years old.
He had been adopted once but returned due to aggression. At first I was hesitant to take on Cupid’s case. Upon evaluation, if I got too close to him, he would lunge aggressively at me. So putting on a leash or collar was out of the question. So was trying to get him off the couch! Simple handling of Cupid was nearly impossible for me. But once Julie, who met me at the foster home to help out, put his leash on I grabbed it and went for a walk with Cupid. Immediately I discovered that underneath the aggression was a dog who wanted only to give kisses and to be loved but most of all needed guidance, discipline and strong leadership.
Although I was still hesitant about this case I decided to take Cupid into my home and try to rehabilitate him.
Initially there were power struggles, attempts at lunging aggressively at me and some biting. It was touch and go at first but through it all I saw a sweet sole underneath his tough exterior. Each day Cupid would respond better and better. There were fewer power struggles, no lunging, but still some dirty looks!
In the end, Cupid accepted the guidance and direction he was given.
He loved to run in open fields and chasing a Frisbee or tennis balls. However, he won’t bring them back so he still needs some work on the whole fetch thing! Now, almost a month later, Cupid’s aggression has disappeared and throughout all the trials and tribulations of his rehabilitation
process I fell in love with him and decided to adopt him to be a part of my pack. He is truly a joy and I am really enjoying his company. To be honest I started taking him everywhere and he loves it.
Cupid has also brought back life into my own two dogs who are 12 and 14 yrs old. Usually my dogs never want to socialize with the dogs that come into our house for behavior issues because they are old and arthritic and it’s just too much effort to socialize. But amazingly they did with Cupid.
Cupid has given my two dogs a second chance at living a youthful life and for that I am forever grateful!
Now Cupid’s name has been changed to Chance. As the title of this story suggests, everyone needs a second Chance. So Chance was an appropriate name for a dog that truly has been given a second chance at living his life to the fullest.
Windsong’s Ecliptic Phenomenon CD, WC, JH
8/20/1996 to 10/1/2011
Eclipse was a great dog. She was so special that a client once offer me $1000.00 for her. But she wasn’t always a good girl.In fact the first 2 years of her life she ran wild. You see someone else was in charge of raising and training her. He tried, but he wasn’t a dog trainer. I decided to take over after it took me 20 minutes to get her to come. Once I took over she learned very quickly and became a fantastic working partner. She could hold a sit stay for as long as I needed her to. She amazed people because, I would put her in a sit stay in a client’s home, run outside to my van, come back in and she would still be in a stay. Believe it or not I still have the stuffed alligator toy that Eclipse won for placing 2nd place at an AKC obedience trial back when she was 3 years old. She loved that toy. If I said go find your alligator she would run around until she found it.
Eclipse had a charmed life. Not too many dogs get to go to work with Mom. The best part was that it was her job to play with other dogs. She was my distraction. In the last 11 years I couldn’t even start to think about how many dogs she has helped train. She would stay in the van and sleep until it was time for her to do her job. I could leave the windows open on the vehicle and she would stay for hours if I needed her to. (But, never on hot days or if it was too cold.) Sometimes while waiting for me she would sneak into the driver’s seat waiting for my return, but most of the time you never knew she was even in the vehicle. I did teach her a trick for her and my safety and that was guard my Van. I was always afraid that someone might try to steal her, so I taught her guard or no guard. If ever I went into areas that had a higher potential of cars being stolen. I would say guard my van. I know she wouldn’t have done anything, however she sounded like a ferocious watch dog. Otherwise I would say no guard and once again. You would never know that she was there.
Now there were times that Eclipse wasn’t the brightest dog. Whenever I would work with dogs that were dog aggressive and the dog would be growling at her. Well Eclipse thought that they wanted to play. She would bounce around trying to get them to play with her. Once she even tried to play with Coyotes. They weren’t in any mood to play and she quickly ran back to Mom. Actually she raced back . Yet she also had a calming nature about herself. Whenever a dog came into bootcamp, she was the welcoming committee. She just had a knack for making the dog feel at home.
Many clients remember Eclipse at our once a month maintenance class. She would hold a sit stay while Mom was running the class, but once class was done. She would go up to every person to say hello. Since she loved her bumper (retrieving toy) she would carrying it around and tease people with it. She would walk around to everybody holding her bumper challenging them to take it from her. We used to have pizza at class and she always managed to get a few crusts. I eventually had to tell people to stop as this always made her sick. I actually think she was upset. After all that was the best part of class.
In some ways Eclipse was a celebrity. She had been on TV several times, been in numerous radio stations and of course a star on my training DVD. If you count all the times that she got to play with celebrities dogs. Well I probably could have let her have her own fan club. The problem is all that attention might have gone to her head.
Well this was Eclipse’s public life. Her private life was just as special. She liked lying down by my feet while I was working on the computer. If I went outside she always wanted to go with me. I think she was hoping I would throw her bumper or take her for a walk. She loved her walks. Even in the last year when she no longer could go very far, she got to go at least around the block. Of course she was a fantastic retriever and loved to swim. If I brought out a bumper she would perk up like a puppy and would race out to pick it up. I knew it was getting close to the end when last week she ran out to the bumper, but never picked it up.
In the last 2 years poor Eclipse has been battling cancer. She had a tumor on the inside of her right front leg by the elbow. I had it removed 3 times. She was 14 years old the last time it was removed and unfortunately within a month it started to grow back. It was decided to let it alone as the last surgery took so much out of her. She made it to 15 years old and for this I am grateful. She will be missed by many. I know it will take me some time to stop looking for her on her favorite dog bed, however; I know she is running in the fields of Heaven chasing bumpers and being happy.