Archive for April 8, 2010

Training Three Rescue Dogs, Nina, Buster and Gus

I have been asked by Michigan Animal Adoption Network to work with some of the dogs that just arrived in to their program.

Having Fun With Gus

Having Fun With Gus!

To be honest I am very excited to be given the opportunity to make a difference. What amazes me most is that for what these dogs have been through, they are so loving.

Nina is a Lab mix that was surrendered up. She is very sweet, loving and sensitive. She must have missed the proper socialization when a puppy, because she is a little on the shy side. Nina also is afraid to make a mistake and if she can’t control her environment doesn’t trust that she won’t be hurt.  When we had our first lesson, which is to teach her to walk on a loose leash she did well, but refused to sit even with cookies. Her thoughts, “If I place my rump on the ground I can’t run away.” If you tried to massage her into the sit she would snap her head back, (not snap or bite, but just turn her head.) Yesterday we had our second lesson.

Nina Happily Doing Sit-Stay

Nina Happily Doing Sit-Stay

My biggest goal was to get her to sit. I started the lesson by again working on her leash manners. Than we worked on sit. Because I made her walk perfectly on a leash (taking more of a leadership role), she was more trusting of me putting her into the sit. By the end of the session she sat and stayed.

The plan for our next session is to mostly work on sit stay. This is one exercise that helps to improve a dog’s self-confidence. If a dog is afraid of something often times you can put them on sit stay by the perceived scary thing. The dog is doing something they know (sit-stay); they receive praise and maybe a cookie. Life is good.

Buster Proudly Doing a Sit

Buster Proudly Doing a Sit!

Buster is a Labrador Mix and will be our toughest challenge. He has had a rough go of it the past 2 years living on the streets of Detroit. Apparently he was also used as a bait dog by the local dog fighters. He had numerous dog bites on his face and head. Despite all this he has a great personality. All he really wants to be is loved and he will give back that love unconditionally.

Buster’s biggest problem is that he is afraid of everything and initially everyone. My initial observation was that he would prefer to be left alone and the only way he felt safe was next to his brother. He would rather just keep running away from you instead of go to you. The good part if he feels threatened he wont attack. Once again this dog would have made someone a great dog.  He acted like he had never been on a leash before in his life and either just freezes, standing still or tries to run in the opposite direction. The first lesson consisted teaching him to walk on a loose leash. The session had to kept positive, upbeat and short. The second lesson we continued were we left off and added sit. He is struggling with sit. It is okay if I melt in your arm, but if you make me sit than I can’t run away. This is going to be a slow go for Buster. I did manage to get him to sit but STAY. Well you take a baby step away from him and he panics. I will need to work quite a bit with Buster, but if we can get him to be half the dog that he should have been. I will be grateful. He deserves it.

Gus Doing Also Doing a Sit-Stay

Gus Also Doing a Sit-Stay

Gus an Akita/Shar Pei mix Buster’s big brother has the most even tempered personality. Not much bothers him and he takes everything in stride. What a great dog. Like a typical Akita or Shar Pei he is very serious and stubborn. You have to convince him that what you want him to do was his idea. At the first lesson he did great walking on a leash. The second lesson we did sit and stay. I was able to have him do a sit/stay from across the room. I will have allot of fun working with Gus. Continue to check out the training process on these three lucky dogs.

April 8, 2010 at 8:26 pm Leave a comment


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