Annie: Day 334

It’s official. Annie is ready to begin looking for her forever home! This girl has come such a long way, and I am super proud of her.

When she came to me almost a year ago, Annie had a potential for aggressiveness along with severe separation anxiety. In situations that caused anxiety, she would show her teeth and growl, but there are zero bites on her record. During this time, I have worked with Annie and to help her get past these issues and gain confidence. For this reason, Annie is looking for a home where there are no children. Additionally, her new owner MUST agree to an owner training session before taking her home that will be 1 1/2 – 2 hours long. During this session, the new owner will learn the structure that Annie needs to maintain a balanced emotional and psychological state and how to use both the prong collar and e-collar that she has been trained on. We will also take a walk at the park and transfer leadership to the new owner which will make transitioning into her new home easier on both Annie and her new owner. Annie does exceptionally well with other dogs and cats, so a multi-animal home would be fine. There will be a “rehoming fee” that actually covers the cost of her e-collar. This is non-negotiable as it has been part of the solution that has brought balance. I will happily agree to a one month trail period.

Quite a while ago, I made an update on my Facebook page, but failed to post it here on the blog. I will include it below. To see more videos of Annie’s progress, please go to my YouTube channel ( ) and type “Annie” into the search bar. You can also find videos of Annie dispersed throughout my Facebook page.

October 8:
Miss Annie has been a very challenging dog to work with. She has been with us for about 8 months now, and if I have learned anything, I have learned just how stubborn she is. As long is everything is going the way she thinks it should be, Annie is a perfect sweetheart. But if you try telling her to do something she doesn’t want to do, she lets you know her disapproval by showing teeth and growling.

The truly most difficult task she has had to work past is settling in the crate. For the first two weeks, she would literally hurt herself trying to escape. At night, I had to have a baby monitor on Annie that would alert me to when she was trying to escape. From there, it took another several months to get her past barking and whining in the crate after she knew I had left the house. Now the ONLY crate issue we are having (and it really isn’t even the crate) is the noise making when we get off of what she believes is her schedule (a late feeding, not going outside at the exact time every day, etc). This stuff has less to do with crate and more to do with being bossy and pushy.

I took a time out from Annie’s obedience training to really work on the crate since it was so vital to her mental and emotional health (getting her past the separation anxiety). Now we are picking it all back up. I am almost beginning as if she hasn’t had any training at all – almost. No e-collar yet, just the prong collar.

Today she reviewed sit and I immediately put some distance, duration, and distraction into it. Since sit is something we have had her do before going through any threshold on a multiple times a day basis, she also received correction if she didn’t feel like complying. She still showed me her disapproval by redirecting on (biting) the leash. Through the obedience work, there this final piece of the puzzle will finally be addressed. I am hoping she will he ready for a new home in 3-5 weeks.

October 20:
Annie is working much more willingly. There is a bit more pep in her step and her overall attitude is more perky. I have put more distance between us as we work on the beginning phase of recall.

In the very recent past, after having extended time out of her crate, Annie would throw a vocal fit when it was time to return. That too seems to have disappeared. I hope this is a trend that continues.

Annie: Day Thirty-six

Annie is doing a fantastic job getting over her separation anxiety. She is just fine in her crate in a room by herself. She no longer makes noise at all unless she needs to use the bathroom (and with her schedule, that doesn’t happen very often), and of course that means she is no longer trying to break out. Since that has started melting away though, I am finding new problems popping up under the surface. Her owner told me of Annie’s fear issues to new objects in the house or when things have been moved out of place in the house along with her aggressive reaction to times when she had done something wrong, but I have found that she also becomes reactive to things over her head.

Additionally, twice in the last two weeks I have tried to give her affection by either giving her extra pets or by playing with her when she finally offered it, and both times she proved to me that she just is not yet ready for it. The first time, I had offered Annie some extra attention and petting during a training session. She had been doing well, but immediately following the affection she began refusing to work. I gave her a correction with the e-collar and she immediately became combative. She was given a pretty high correction for that and affection has been removed. Her willingness to work has been excellent for each session after that one. (Videos below)

The second time I offered affection was through play. After using the bathroom, she offered to play with me by basically running to and from me (almost a tag type situation). We came in and met Angus (my regular daycare/boarding client) at the door. Up until this point, there has been ZERO indication of ANY kind of problems with ANY of the dogs in the house – including Angus. Angus had come through the front door, Annie was getting attention from me and Angus’s owner, and when he came back to check in with what was going on, she snarled and snapped at him. This was definitely a resource guarding situation. She was getting attention and didn’t want to share. As it turns out, not only is Annie fearful and full of anxiety, she is also a bit bratty. So, Annie is not ready for affection yet.

Annie: Day Twenty-Two

This girl has turned a corner. Last week, we had gotten her to a place where she could relax most of the day and night in her crate. The only problem we continued to have was when I had to go somewhere. This week, I spent one evening and one morning to fix this problem.

I went out to my truck, took the baby monitor and the remote to Annie’s e-collar, started the truck, and waited. I didn’t have to wait long before she was standing and whining. Whenever she did this, I corrected her with a pretty high level on the e-collar. It only took two or three corrections before she decided to lie down and relax. After she had relaxed for a good 15 minutes, I turned off the engine and waited. She remained relaxed. Yay!

I went back into the house and did some housework, then went back out to the truck and repeated the process. I did this one more time that evening. The next morning, I tested it again before I had to leave the house. Annie did great! I left all the monitor and remote with my husband, was gone for about an hour, and when I came back he said he didn’t have any issues at all.

Since that day, we have left her completely alone (nobody home to monitor her) twice. I don’t know if she never whined or didn’t get anxious, but I do know that there were no signs of her trying to escape her crate. The next step is to put a bark collar that has a counter on her when we leave to see if she barks at all. Additionally, I have reached the point where I am not going to be taking the baby monitor to bed with me tonight (for the first time)!

Annie has been getting more and more time out of her crate during the day as she progresses in her obedience training. The time that is spent outside of her crate is either in active training or in “place” (passive training). She has proven to me that with extra love – petting, talking to, etc. – she becomes more pushy and stubborn. For that reason, I have gone back to kibble treats instead of petting as a reward for training, and she doesn’t get a lot of free time.

As of today, Annie has learned the down command and the e-collar stimulation that goes with it, the beginning of being sent to place, and quite a bit of duration along with some distraction and some distance (my walking away from her) while in the place command. She has taken a walk up the driveway and to the mailbox with me once, and she has been introduced to my personal pack of dogs as well as a couple of tiny training client dogs. She does fantastic with other dogs. Now we just need her to do fantastic with humans. πŸ™‚

Annie: Day Twelve

Annie is sleeping through the night! I am sleeping through the night! Annie is finally in a place where she is able to settle in her crate, in a room by herself with the door shut. She gets stirred up a little when my personal dogs get excited about going outside, but as long as I’m home she is able to settle. However, when things get quiet she starts to worry.

When do things get quiet? When I leave the house and when I go to bed. I need to leave the house on an almost daily basis to take dogs for walks, but thankfully with my husband working from home, he is able to give a correction when needed. (Another bit of good news: Yesterday was the first day that Annie did not escape from the kennel while I was gone!) The good thing about this is that he sits in his office and quietly does computer work, so in Annie’s mind nobody is home and the e-collar correction she is receiving doesn’t have a person behind it. This is going to be helpful when she goes to her new home (which is probably several months away).

At night when things get quiet, she has been waking me up several times. Two nights ago, I decided to take the e-collar off of her and only had to get out of bed twice within an hour after going to bed to give her a bonker correction. Last night I was able to stay in bed, only giving her a verbal correction over the baby monitor. Yay!

Yesterday evening I was thinking about how well she was doing, but I had to stop and remind myself that there would probably be a regression soon. That happened today. While I was working with my board and train dogs, Annie had a down right fit. Throwing the bonker (what was working earlier) just brought out her aggression. I hadn’t put the e-collar on her yet, so after she had calmed a little, I decided to go ahead and do that. She had really escalated to the point that even the e-collar wasn’t doing much for her at sensible levels. Once she calmed (it took about 5-10 minutes), and stayed calmed for a while (another 10 minutes) I took her out of the crate and did some obedience work with her. She spent about 15 to 20 minutes at the end of her session holding the Place command, even going to sleep. I put her back in her crate and she went right to sleep. When it was time for me to leave the house, Aaron manned the baby monitor again. He said he only had to make a couple of corrections. This is big — And it means that this is another day that she did not escape. I am looking forward to the day when she is just able to relax.

As far as obedience training goes, Annie has done a little heel work indoors. We will be repeating that lesson one more time before taking it outside. She has also started learning the Place command along with learning what e-collar stimulation means – Finally! (videos below) Her working level is between a 1 and a 2. Boy is she sensitive! I truly hate that I have had to use the e-collar to correct her before teaching her what it means, but I felt it was necessary as she was hurting herself trying to get out of the crate.

I have discovered that Annie has some kind of metal allergy/sensitivity. The e-collar has been leaving contact sores. I know this is not from the stimulation, because her prong collar is doing the same thing. I have ordered comfort pads for her e-collar (this collar is an absolute necessity at this moment with the crate issues) and comfort tips for her prong collar. They should be in no later than Monday. In the meantime, the collars are only on her when absolutely necessary, and I have been doctoring her wounds.

Annie: Day Eight

Things with Annie have been a bit interesting. As expected, as she has gotten more comfortable with being here some of her issues have begun to make themselves known – the biggest being separation anxiety.

Friday (the day after my last post), I needed to take Cosmo (my board and train) to do some work in public. With Annie’s crate reinforce and no new attempts at trying to free herself from the crate, we left and were gone for about 2 1/2 hours. I came home to her head sticking out of the corner of the crate again. It wasn’t the gate she had worked loose this time, but the font panel (again). This time, she had really beat herself up. This told me two things – 1. although she seemed to be getting better with separation anxiety, she was really relying on Cosmo. 2. Even though I didn’t want to, it was time to start correcting her with the e-collar – for her safety.

In this house, Saturday’s are all about resting (for human and animal). For that reason, I left her crate in the room with Cosmo to offer as much comfort as possible so that she could rest. I did put the e-collar on her to prevent her from hurting herself just in case she did try to work herself out of the crate. And she did. I started at a pretty high setting and corrected her anytime she pawed at the crate, put her mouth on the crate, or tried to push on it with her nose. There were a few corrections, but she caught on pretty quickly.

Sunday I did a lot of work in the living room with Cosmo, so I didn’t move Annie’s crate again. On this day, she received corrections for whining. On the previous day, each time Annie would try to get out of her crate her attempts were always preceded by a whine. With a whine, I can see the escalation of anxiety begin. Since she wouldn’t understand me if I told to her calm down or to stop worrying, I have to correct her state of mind at the earliest possible sign of escalation. The corrections started fairly high, but with each correction I would lower the level on the e-collar. The great thing about correcting at the earliest sign of escalation is that the correction level doesn’t need to be anywhere near as high as if I wait until she is already lost in her anxiety. That is what we worked on Sunday.

Both Friday and Saturday night I took the baby monitor to bed with me, and Annie had to wear the e-collar through the night. I wasn’t sure what times had actually left her crates on the previous nights, so I needed an alert to be able to correct her if she tried while we were asleep. Early morning on both days she did need a correction.

I went ahead and moved Annie’s crate to a room where she would be by herself today. I am surprised the progress she has made. I have only corrected her a couple of times, and after each correction it is taking less time for her to settle down this morning.

I did have to take Cosmo out again today, but my husband was home. I took the baby monitor in to him along with the remote for the e-collar and asked him to keep up with Annie while we were gone. My thought was that she would know we were gone, and would probably try to escape thinking that she the corrections only came while we were home. It seemed to work…UNTIL the battery died on the baby monitor. (I’m going to have to double check that the monitor has a full charge next time.) My husband put it in another room on the charger, and when I got home Annie was out of her crate. *Sigh* I could have put a latch on her crate door to make sure she couldn’t get it open, but she is also smart enough to know when the latch is on there. I am also wanting to work on that. We are back to square one…

In today’s session, Annie got a reminder on sit and place with prong collar pressure. She also learned what downward prong collar pressure means through the lure of her favorite treat. (Videos below).

Annie: Day Four

I caught it on video! – The Great Escape. This girl knows what she is doing. She is able to get the door on her crate open in under 3 minutes.

I caught the whole thing on video before posting the last blog entry so I will include it in this one. I went back into the room and using the clip of a leash, I clipped the bottom of the door to the gate. She would still be able to lift the door, but not push it open.

Well, when I got up this morning and went into the room to check on her, she had her head stuck out of the top corner of the crate looking at me. I sure wish I had taken a picture of that! Lesson learned. I am now clipping the door shut so that she can’t even lift it. Additionally, I have her under constant video surveillance and is now wearing an e-collar. I don’t her hurting herself while attempting to get out of the crate, so she gets a correction anytime she begins to get agitated. All of her attempted escapes begin with whining, so that is where the correction comes, while I can still give it at a rather low level.

Today we worked on expanding Annie’s understanding of the prong collar. Her first lesson with it was about understanding that it is there to give directional information and that it won’t hurt her. Today is about understanding that an upward pressure means to sit. At the same time, I give her a vocal command so that she learns to also listen to that. (Video below.)

Annie: Day Three

This girl has figured out how to open her crate. She did great overnight. I thought I had fixed the problem with the zip ties. Nope. I took Cosmo (my board and train) to the park to get some work. I was gone for about 45 minutes. When I walked through the front door, Annie was standing there looking at me.

I went back to the dog room and looked at the crate, and the door was standing wide open. I checked the house. There were no potty accidents, nothing had been destroyed or gotten into. I have no idea how she got out. I don’t even know when she got out. Had she been out for a while? Did she decided she wanted out when she heard me pull up to the house? This happened around noon.

I took Annie potty, did a little work with her, and put her back in her crate. I continued with my day. Around dinner time, my daughter was making dinner, and I just walked back into the living room from the back of the house (my own potty break). I looked towards the dog room, and Faith turned around at the same time, and there stood Annie.

How is she doing that?! She’s not even breaking out – she is just simply opening the door. You guys, I have trouble opening that door! In order to open the door, it has to be lifted and pulled (pushed in her case), and the door sticks. It does not lift easily at all. (You can tell in the training video below.) I have no idea how she’s doing it, but I now have the camera set up and focused on her hoping to catch her in the act. I just want to see her do it. πŸ™‚

I did just a small amount of work with Annie today to get her to respond to her new name. This is going to take a while. She also urinated while on the leash – progress. Now if I can just get her to poop.

Annie: Day Two

I woke up at 4:21 this morning to a single bark. I seriously thought about lying in bed and waiting to see if I heard it again, but I knew I should get up and investigate. Very quietly, so that the barking dog would not hear me, I opened the bedroom door. At that point I heard the clicking of toenails on the living room. Either that was a very large mouse, or it was a dog. It was very unlikely that it could be Cosmo (my board and train). He has been doing an excellent job in his crate day and night for over a week now. As soon as she heard me, she growled and took off.

I turned on the light and found two turds on the floor just in front of the baby gate (a gate we keep up to keep dogs from going into the back of the house). I went back into the dog room and found Annie sitting in the farthest corner of the couch just waiting to see what would happen. I looked at the crate to see what damage had been done.

There was no damage done to the crate itself. She had somehow managed to get the front panel to fall down inward as is intended when folded up. This amazes me only because her previous owner had told me how things above her head seemed to frighten her. When told that, my thought was of how something falling on her could frighten her. Apparently it didn’t bother her too much.

I put the crate back together, grabbed the leash and attached it to her collar, and took her to her crate. Annie hesitated, so I bent over and pushed her bottom until she was back in the crate. No real struggle – just hesitation. I was honestly too tired to think or care about her reaction to this, but she didn’t offer to cause any trouble.

As I passed the kitchen to pick up the turds, I noticed a little puddle in the floor. And as I went by to clean that up, I found a larger puddle by the front door. (At least the place she chose to potty wasn’t carpeted.) I couldn’t hardly blame her. Each time I took her out to potty yesterday had been on-leash, and she had refused to potty. I’m sure a lot of it had to do with the pressure of being on leash. After cleaning it all up, I went back to bed.

By the time I had made it back into the room to feed Annie (6:00 a.m.), she already had one corner of the crate pulled in again. I took the time to reinforce it with zip ties, and fed her.

After breakfast, Annie started making a little bit of a ruckus. There was whining and I could hear the crate rattling a little bit. I quickly grabbed my bonker and very quietly sneaked closer to the room. I waited for her to get wound up again, firmly said no as I entered the room, and threw the bonker at her crate. There was really no reaction. I gave her a quick spray with the pet convincer just to make sure she understood, and walked away. (Video below)

After her breakfast this morning, I did a clicker conditioning lesson with Annie. I wasn’t sure what to expect. She hadn’t accepted the best treats I had yesterday, and I wasn’t sure what she would think of the clicker. The lesson went wonderfully! I was able to lure into both a sit and a down, and by the end of it, I was rewarding her for making eye contact. (Video below)

We have continued working on thresholds as I take her in and out to potty. She is catching on. She finally pottied on-leash. (whew!) Since the correction this morning, Annie has also gone back to being quiet and calm in her crate.

Annie: Day One

When Annie arrived, I met her and her owner in the driveway. She was barking and nervous about everything. Already knowing that she had high anxiety and fear levels I did my best to avoid eye contact. I had her owners stop short so that Annie could not reach me. I stood with my side towards her to relieve any pressure. She did bark and lunge.

As she began calming down, she was allowed to come closer, and finally began ignoring me. When she was to the point that she was ignoring me, I took the leash and her owners and I parted ways. She followed me towards the house without a problem. When I opened the door, Marvel started barking. She hesitated and decided she was not coming in. I told Marvel to cut it out and went back to the driveway with Annie, leaving the front door open. We walked back towards the house, and instead of going in, we walked past the door and onto the porch, walked a little ways and turned around. This time as we came to the door, I did not have to open the door, there was no pause, so we came right in.

Annie was cautious of everything. She went back to the front door several times wanting to go outside. She had been doing a lot of pulling on the leash, so I decided to go ahead and put a prong collar on her. Why not start teaching her communication? Her attention was on the door, so she was quick to allow me to put the collar on. Once I got it on, I began to do some conditioning. She accepted it initially, but as it began interfering with what she wanted she decided attack the leash. I attached my long leash to the shorter one she had on so I wouldn’t get bitten and worked a little more. She finally began understanding the directional information she was receiving.

Next it was time to get her into a place where she would calm down. She is not crate trained and I wasn’t sure how she would respond to it. She wanted nothing to do with it. I tried using the leash and threading it through the crate to guide her in. She wasn’t having anything to do with that. I tried building a type of shoot to guide her into the crate. She got to the gate, but wouldn’t go through. Since I had her to that point, I opened the side door, threaded the leash through that and called her into the crate. This time it worked like a dream.

I left the room for a couple of hours to give her time to relax. During that time, she only made a noise twice. I expect that to increase as she becomes more comfortable here. When I came back, she was back to growling and barking at me from behind the bars. She was reacting out of fear, without a doubt. As long as that continued, I did not move away. I gave her a quick shot with the pet convincer and stopped immediately. She certainly was not comfortable with me being close to her crate, but she wasn’t acting aggressively toward me. As soon as the barking and growling stopped, I moved away to reward her. As I was training one of the board and trains, I would stop periodically ad approach Annie’s crate. She never offered to growl or bark again, and she actually took a moment to sniff me. (videos below)

When my daughter came home Annie immediately began barking and growling. I had Faith run through the same process I did. She was able to sit beside, but at a distance from her crate but she never made eye contact.

When it was time for me to take Annie potty, she allowed me to open the door and did not offer to bite as I put the leash on her. When it was time for her to return to her crate, she went right in without hesitation.

Although she spent most of her day in the crate, I did have to let her in and out to potty a few times throughout the day. I used those opportunities to begin teaching her the Kennel command and to work on crossing thresholds with permission. With the issues she has, working on permission is going to be huge.

She was also very quiet in her crate, but I expect that to change as she becomes more comfortable here.


Annie needed a new home. She had been a great dog for three years, but after her owner had a baby Annie started showing some very concerning behavior. Things like showing her teeth when being corrected. Her owner wouldn’t have been too concerned if it was just herself, but with small children this is just too dangerous.

There was a time when her owner was in a better situation financially that she had trainers come for a consultation. Both trainers told her they could not work with her. Now things are not so great and Annie is not getting any better.

Her owner also knew that if she took her to a shelter she would be marked too dangerous to rehome and probably sentenced to death. She was desperate to find a good home at the least for her.

The behaviors that Annie shows include:

-aggression when she is being corrected
-stealing food/objects/trash
-threatening strangers
-fear of anything that may not be in its place or that she has never encountered
-excessive attention seeking
-threatening/growling at other animals
-anxious when alone
-threatening family members
-she has gotten into a couple of fights with the other dog that was in her family