As our initial call unfolded, and as Corey was explaining all of the challenges he and his wife were encountering with their 10-month-old pit-bull pup, Kaia was in the background behaving as though she were an actress acting on cue to a script Corey was narrating. Jumping, nipping, barking and pulling! Clawing, pawing and completely unruly! Kaia was a small, but mighty, ball of energy, and the Zedo’s needed our help.
The Zedo’s were dreaming of being able to take walks with Kaia, and to enjoy their lives together, but with Kaia’s horrible leash etiquette, and complete lack of impulse control, they were finding themselves hard-pressed to even leave their house with her. This is a very common, and unhappy circumstance we witness a lot of our clients struggling with before they work with us. When dogs are reactive, or difficult to manage on leash, it makes walking them at best an unenjoyable affair, and at worst, a potentially dangerous one. This behavior is often enough to prevent many dog owners who experience it from walking their dogs altogether which creates a downward spiral in their dog’s behavior.
This is a rough template of what the downward spiral typically looks like:
We notice our dog is afraid of lawnmowers for some reason. Naturally, to save our dog from the discomfort of being in the presence of lawnmowers, we avoid them.
In addition to our dog’s obvious fear of lawnmowers, they have begun pulling erratically on leash, making walking them difficult and stressful.
While avoiding lawnmowers, and anything loud that our dog could perceive as a lawnmower, we begin to notice they are also showing signs of discomfort around cars, skateboards and bicycles. We begin to avoid those too.
Now our walks are getting smaller and smaller because we have a lot of items we need to ignore for it to even be remotely enjoyable (even though the pulling makes it pretty unenjoyable for us).
Then, one day, as another dog is approaching, our dog goes bananas (out of nowhere). They have never done that before, but now we need to add dogs to the “things to avoid” list.
Now, every time our dog even sees another dog he or she lunges, pulls and barks uncontrollably. They pull on leash, are scared of half of the neighborhood, and seem aggressive towards other dogs. We decide walks are no longer fun, and make the decision to discontinue them.
Now our dogs are home, their world has gotten smaller, and they are no longer being exposed to people, other dogs or any of the other naturally occurring stimuli that dogs should experience in the world. This only exacerbates very, undesirable behaviors we were trying to avoid in the first place.
We all mutually decided that Kaia would greatly benefit from enrolling in our 4-week long “Behavior Modification” board and train program. Less than a month later, Kaia would arrive at our training facility, and she arrived with a “BANG”. Kaia is an adorable ball of energy, and everyone on our team was very excited about the opportunity to work with her.
As of today, Kaia has been home for just over a week, and has been doing wonderfully! Corey was even able to visit a brewery with Kaia where she behaved the entire time! Our goal at Art of the Dog is to give owners the ability to enjoy their lives with their dogs, and to foster relationships founded on mutual love and respect. We are so proud of Kaia, and can’t wait to see and hear about all of the happy times yet to come.
Thank you to the Zedos for entrusting us with their amazing pup, Kaia.