© Copyright Moulton 2005
In the spirit of a New Year and new beginnings I want to thank you for our new beginning with our Jasper.
We adopted Jasper one year ago from a shelter in Tennessee. When we brought him home he was such a scared little peanut. We have 4 acres and he was free to roam as he pleased. We installed an electric fence and he was trained so easily. We also had play dates with other dogs and played so well. He knew his name, sat & came when called. We could not have been happier. When people came over, he barked at them, but once they were in the house, he would flirt & cuddle with our guests all night.
We figured that since he was such a great dog that training would be a breeze. Boy, were we wrong. We did not leash walk him because of our large property. Our first day at another training center was without Jasper. We were given a run down of what would be taught and what to expect. Our first homework assignment was given: get your dog to recognize his name and teach him to sit. We thought we were on easy street; Jasper was going to the star of the class!
Then came our first class with Jasper. He lounged and the other dogs and barked like he was possessed. We literally collapsed in a heap of exhaustion after the class, we were drained. How could our sweetheart be so crazed? We continued with classes, and they did not get better. We spent the entire class feeding him treats to try to distract him from going after another dog. We skipped the last class out of frustration. We had given up; we thought that Jasper just could not be on a leash.
Some months later, I decided to try again. I just wanted to be able to go hiking with my dog. I enrolled in your class. I thought maybe this time would be different as the last time we went to class was so soon after we adopted him. Jasper's reaction was not different. He reacted the same way by lounging and barking like a rabid dog. I felt like crying! Your partner Kristen immediately came over and told me, "You need to be in control. If you are upset, Jasper will be upset" She told me to look for the signs he was being distracted by the other dogs.
Believe or not, I was actually encouraged by the time we left the first class. It helped to know that Jasper is not the only dog to ever act this way. We wanted to desperately for him to be polite. My husband John & I attended every class & took turns being the one giving the commands.
By the third class Jasper went from having to be quarantined in a corner with a gate and a towel to being within the population. The transformation was not overnight, but it was steady. At home we made him sit before doing going outside and go down before being fed. There were times John & I had to put the food away 4 times before he would go down. But we were determined that Jasper was going to succeed. What we were doing before didn't work. We needed to listen to the professionals.
We aimed to be consistent. We knew Jasper could not understand English, so we had to communicate in other ways. Tone of voice and body language were constantly evaluated. During class, one of us would pay attention to the instructor and the other would keep an eye on Jasper. By the end of the class we could not believe the improvement! He was listening to us! He didn't lounge at the dogs anymore and he was SO CUTE! Sure, we couldn't let our guard down but if felt good to able to control our dog.
So thank you so much Karen for your patience. If ever some needs a recommendation, please do not hesitate to contact me.