Here is another testimonial from a long term client. Who benefits from doing our pack walks on a regular basis after completing their training program. Here we had a challenging Jack Russell named Belle, it took commitment, love and time from dedicated owners, but with persistence they got through it.
“We weren’t sure we could keep her! Walks were a nightmare, she had separation anxiety / containment phobia and was highly reactive to other dogs when we got her”!
This was a rescue dog, Jack Russell around 1 to 2 years old, found running loose. So, no history at all but the foster home had warned me she had started a fight at their home where four other dogs also lived.
When we got home after picking up the dog from the foster family, and went for our first walk, it was a disaster. When she saw a woman coming along the sidewalk with her two westies about 20 feet away she went berserk. Jumped up, writhed around, got away from the head lead and attacked viciously. It took a couple of minutes to get a hold on her and tear her away, wrestle her to the ground, get her lead back on etc.
After that every time she saw another dog, whether close or far, she would start to bark frantically, jump up and down, lunge and pull very hard on the leash, and just go red zone. To “go for a walk” we put on a collar and leash, a muzzle, and a halter with a second leash. Although she really wanted to go on a walk, we didn’t!! We thought she was fiercely aggressive; we thought of returning the dog as unmanageable.
However, after a consultation with Awesome K9, where Nancy-Lynn showed both her highly trainable side, sweet nature, the diagnosis was “highly reactive”. And we could work with that. Nancy-Lynn thought there was hope and she would improve with proper exposure and handling of a confident leader for this little ball of fire.
Belle also had severe separation anxiety, to the point where she fought to get out of her crate and injured both paws and fore legs. When not in her crate, she clawed at the door and left big gouges in it from door handle to floor. We weren’t sure how to manage all that.
During our training program, with lots of structure in her life, regular exercise, free running in the country and lots of love, and continued practice, she gradually was improving. The intensity of her reaction is greatly reduced; However, she has now met several dogs, sniffed appropriately front and rear and even met some dogs while free in the dog park. She has gone on Awesome K9 pack walks and periods of acting out have reduced greatly, she settles down and walks along beside any dog or even between two dogs. She will sit and do any of the drills the other dogs do without incident. On her free runs in the country she races around but comes easily and well and is a much better-balanced dog. Other vigorous exercises – digging, chasing the ball into the water and swimming, playing frisbee, have helped to reduce her level of frustration. It has been on going to maintain and continue improving daily.
Doing regular drills as taught, regular pack walks and getting the dog to focus, or getting her diverted when she is about to go red zone have also helped. She still occasionally goes crazy when seeing another dog, pulls occasionally, barks and growls and lunges while wagging her tail, however, the severity and incidences have diminished greatly. She has much better encounter when walking. So, we are on the way to her becoming a socialized dog – consistency, patience and practice is key.
We love her lots and are happy to have seen this process through to keep her and make it work.
Gay, Owen & Bell