Three More Success Stories!
First, Leo: Leo had a great time on the morning beach walk and walked with the pack very well. However, Leo has been known to gulp/inhale his food, or anyone else’s food that might be nearby (I lost a hamburger, wrapper and all, when I turned my back… but I’m over it…). So I decided to see if he could control himself. After having him lay down, I took a piece of cheese (the Good Stuff: Kraft white American cheese, no less) and gave him a small piece. Then I put the rest on a plate and told him to wait, which he did. I moved it closer and he thought about it but only looked while he licked his chops. I moved it even closer and turned my head and body and out of the corned of my eye I could see him bending down to the plate with his head turned sideways so he could keep an eye on me! I voice-corrected him and he stopped with a look like, “I wasn’t going to eat that!” I moved it under his head and we both sat there for 3 minutes; he never looked at it – in fact, he tried to look everywhere BUT the cheese. Then, of course, I let him get the cheese. Job well done, Leo!
Next up, Happy Herman. Herman is the kind of dog that comes into a room and knows how to introduce himself in a calm but happy way to everyone. He got to swim in the ocean with the big dogs, swam at the dog park all the way across the lake, and participated in a spaghetti dinner hosted by Dan, one of the morning pack leaders. And all of our dogs. Look out, Tim (Herman’s owner): tons of people wanted to take Herman home – he is the consummate balanced pack member!
Lastly is Luci. Two-year-old Luci is a bundle of energy that loves to jump to say hello and was not super great on the walk. Her owner enlisted my help and we met on the beach with my balanced Koa. Luci had some energy to off-load (which she accomplished by digging holes while we talked) but after a short discussion on some basics with Helann (owner), we started working together on changing the leash, rules/boundaries/limitations, and the correct pack leader attitude. Rehabilitating a dog is a process and the process progresses much quicker when the human is on board, which Helann really was! After the beach we went to the dog park to let her drain the rest of the physical energy after the mental exertion, and to observe and learn how dogs interact. When dogs exhibit an unbalanced energy other dogs will correct that and a Doberman named Jago (I hope I spelled that correctly) did just exactly that with her when she was playing too excitedly with Koa. Dogs can make that correction faster and with long-lasting effects than humans and it worked beautifully!
I’m happy to report that this morning we meet Luci and Helann on the beach and the difference was night and day! The walk was relaxed and you could tell that Helann has put the work in even during the short time we were together. She looked every bit the part of a true pack leader! She also shared a photo of Luci after the session: lying on her back, feet in the air, eyes wide open but sound asleep! Way to go, Helann!
Until the next time, stick to the basics, be calm, and enjoy the time with your dog!