Our Success Stories
More than a decade ago, my ex-partner and I adopted a 1-year-old adolescent Rottweiler. We were his 4th home within 6 months and therefore it was absolutely necessary to start training him immediately. In Dog Training Class, I was told to apply strong leash corrections if Balko would not listen to a simple command such as Sit.
The trainer also recommended a pinch collar because he pulled strongly.
I wasn't comfortable at all neither the dog but did what I was told. When Balko started to growl after a few corrections, clearly showing stress and aggression as a result of these punitive methods. I refused to continue that way and a different trainer stepped in telling me to bring treats to the next training session.
From then on, Balko would get a treat whenever he offered desired behavior. It really worked out great! Within a couple of days, Balko responded much better and was trained to become a well-behaved family member. Because of the effort we put into, we were able to take him everywhere on and off leash, he loved dogs and kids and became a crazy water dog when he moved with us to Canada :-)
He passed away too early in 2006, at the age of 6 years suffering from a brain tumor :( However, he had 5 really happy years!
Today, I live with Foxie and Lola, both rescues with a totally different background...
Just a couple weeks before Balko went to doggie heaven, I rescued a 9 months old Retriever Mix from up north. Kept very isolated, Foxie was a fearful, insecure female, very suspicious about strangers, especially men. She grew up on a mine up north (Mont-Laurier) with little human contact during an important stage in her life (between 7 and 16 weeks).
Her social capabilities were severely hampered. Though I didn't have much experience with anxious dogs at the time, I was eager to learn everything needed to make her comfortable around people and enjoy life more.
In fact, it did take quite a while...and lot’s of pawtience but it paid off! After a while, Foxie got to like people gradually using positive reinforcement methods.
It was a steady improving process and today it only takes her a few minutes to get comfortable with a new person. I can even take her to public places like coffee shops, dog beaches, other people homes, which was impossible the first couple months. In January, she turned 10 years! She is physically and mentally fit and enjoys life more then ever.
I will never forget that look on her face when I first saw Lola (Nala) when I started volunteering at the Humane Society in California during my internship. It was love at first sight ;-)
1-year-old then, Lola a Mini-Pincher/Beagle mix had an incredible ability to learn quickly.
Though her boundless energy was something her previous owner couldn’t handle, she enjoyed being taught new behaviors and tricks. Her favorite is Roll-Over ;) She is a social butterfly and with a Mini-Rottweiler attitude LOL Putting up perfectly with large dogs I can take her to all my classes, Lola became the perfect role model for my puppy students! She is a great example that many shelter dogs have enormous potential to become well-behaved dogs with little time and pawtience!