Jake’s Story – Day 205

It’s Time. :'( Jake is ready for his forever home. This little guy has wiggled his way into my heart (the challenging ones always do), and I have no doubt that he will find his way into anybody’s heart.

…BUT that’s where the problem lies. Because of his ability to pull at the heart strings with those sweet eyes and warm affection, Jake has been able to also reverse the roles in his relationships so that he is the one leading, and as a leader, Jake is a tyrant. His next owner will need to be a firm leader – one who is very capable of being equally believable in the departments of accountable AND love. One who can set firm rules, give fair corrections, and know when the time is right for affection and play. This owner will need to be balanced in order to allow Jake to continue on in his new balanced behavior.

This boy who came to me attempting to bite me because he didn’t want to work, or because I used the word ‘no’, or because I needed to clip his toe nails, is now responding as a follower. He is happy to work with me. When he is told ‘no’, he now responds by correcting himself. If he feels uncomfortable in a situation, he looks for guidance. The toenail clipping is still a challenge, but he is fine wearing a muzzle when it’s time – and with the muzzle on, even though he is tense, he doesn’t try to bite. (This is a far cry from the guy who had to be put on medication for two days prior to being taken to the vet to have his nails trimmed.)

With all of this in consideration, Jake will not be going to just any home. The person who is interested in adopting Jake will meet both of us, attend two training sessions with me to learn how to be the leader Jake needs, and agree to the protocol I have put into place. This is not a quick process. It will likely take a week or two. In addition to providing owner training, I will also provide an e-collar and prong collar and agree to a three week trial period. As with all the dogs that are rehomed from here, there is a rehoming fee of $150 (this barely covers the cost of the two collars).

We need to find a home for Jake to make room for another rescue. Please share this with somebody you may know who fits the requirements and is looking for a dog that needs a great home.

Jake’s Story – Day 44

While Jake progresses in a lot of areas, he still has is occassional set back. In total, there has been three times that he has tried to bite me. Each time, it was for something he thought I shouldn’t be doing. The first time was before muzzle training and during a walk. We were working on turning at 90 degrees, which includes some prong collar pressure. He didn’t agree with it, so he went after me. The second time was the second time that worked on clipping his toe nails. He wasn’t hurt in the process, but he sure didn’t think I should be holding his paw. The third time was just yesterday. He was working on Place duration, and decided to sneak off several times. Each time, I put him back. The last time, he tried to run into the living the room, and as soon as we got back into the room, he tried to tell me he was not going back to the mat with his teeth. The interesting thing is I’m beginning to notice when he is going to have that kind of a day. He starts his day off with attitude – head down and moving very slowly as if to say, “Make me.”

On a high note, each session in which he has tried to bite me has ended on a note of success for him. After the nail clipping incident, I was able to finish trimming his nails. After the multiple attempts to escape the Place command, he finished his hour long duration. It also seems that each fit-throwing escapade is shorter lived.

While I haven’t been progressing with Jake as quickly as I do most board and train clients, he is making steady progress. He has been moved into the dog room. He is now being socialized with certain dogs. And he is beginning to spend more and more time out of the crate since I am able to hold him accountable to obey. I am really looking forward to the day that I can say that Jake no longer snaps at anybody.

Jake’s Story – Day 3

Since showing up, we have been unable to get Jake to go potty. The first night/morning here I got up to find poop in his crate after an unsuccessful day of trying to convince him, but even after the accident, he was still refusing to pee at all – not even in his crate. He isn’t the first dog that I’ve run into this problem with, though. So I decided to just wait it out. Most nervous dogs won’t eat for the first day or two (Jake hadn’t eaten either), but the ones who are really wound tightly also refuse to potty. Then, yesterday, Jake had his first Aha! moment. πŸ™‚

I could tell he was finally beginning to feel more comfortable going in and out of the crate. He was more comfortable following me around the yard, and he was even coming to me unprovoked to stand beside me as I waited for him to use the bathroom. Yet, it wasn’t for me that he went to the bathroom. I had Faith (my daughter) take him out for the first time (since he was showing signs of cooperating a bit better). And he finally peed “the longest pee of his life.” (In the words of my daughter. ) When it was time to take him out again, I took a little food with me so that I could reward him if he did it for me. He didn’t, but I offered food anyway, and he finally took some for the first time. (Yay!) NOW I can work with him. πŸ™‚

Dogs that have Jake’s behavior issues are typically dogs that have never had to earn a thing in their life. Call them entitled. This is exactly where Jake comes from. I need to flip that upside down. So instead of getting everything for free, Jake must earn everything. Everything. Food, affection, play time, freedom… Everything. This is how respect is won, trust is built, and guards are let down.

I started with the crate. From day one, Jake has been learning to wait for permission to leave the crate (earning freedom) or to enter the crate (earning comfort). At the door, he is required to wait for permission before either going outside or coming in. And now that he is accepting food (and gobbling it up), he must earn that too. Today he earned food by way of the muzzle. (See the video below.)

This has only been his first Aha! moment. There will be many more. Stay tuned.

Jake’s Story

Meet Jake. His story with me begins with a phone call. His owner called me looking a recommendation. She had this dog that she loves dearly, but in the last 2 1/2 weeks Shadow had bitten people on four different occasions. His growling and biting was enough to cause considerable fear for the 9 year old in the house. The child would just shut herself in her room to avoid him. With this history of biting, his owner knew that a shelter or rescue was very unlikely to take him, and her only other option was to put him down. All she simply wanted was the name of a place that might help her.

Her cries of relief when I told her that I had an open space in my Rehab to Rehome program took me by surprise. After finding my voice (I can’t cry and speak at the same time), I had her fill out a form to get a full list of the things Shadow struggles with. The dog formerly known as Shadow struggles with:

  • food aggression
  • Unprovoked growling and lunging
  • Resource guarding aggression
  • Growling when told “No”
  • Fear of loud noises, sudden movements, vehicles, and raised voices
  • Dog aggression
  • Human Aggression
  • Refusal to obey

Along with a new start, Shadow gets a new name. The transformation I will be working on for Jake will be a more balanced dog. One that is more confident, more willing to cooperate, trusts people enough to follow rather than feeling the need to lead, and thus is more willing to cooperate. Then, I will begin the search for Jake’s new forever home.