Michelle reached out to me in the beginning of March. She adopted Zoe from a rescue who primarily works with street dogs out of Hungary.
Michelle was not a novice dog owner nor was dog-people or dog-dog reactivity an unknown situation for her. She was familiar with using a muzzle, she understood how unfamiliar things, people and places can trigger dogs, but what she wasn’t prepared for was Zoe’s fearfulness.
Zoe had a hard adjustment to living in a home with unfamiliar people. Everything from the sounds of cars driving by, to the morning alarm going off to even the clanking sound of chocolate chips in a ceramic bowl had Zoe careening around the corner and barking at Michelle.
Michelle was nervous.
Michelle was unsure of what Zoe was communicating, what her triggers were and how to keep her safe and other people safe from Zoe’s seemingly unpredictable nature.
What was clear, mutual trust was missing. Everyone in the home was afraid, including Zoe. Michelle’s compassionate heart ached for Zoe. She wanted Zoe to feel comfortable in order for her and her family to feel the same.
We started off 4 months ago with simple relationship building exercises which Michelle practiced with Zoe consistently. She even helped Zoe accept the crate and utilized ideas from Canine Enrichment Facebook group.
Over the course of our time together, Zoe has accomplished unbelievable milestones. She’s been acclimated to a doggie daycare, she loved her weekend at dog sitter which allowed Michelle and her husband a weekend away, and the most exciting (for me) was I was able to hand feed treats to her just last week!
While everything is not perfect, Michelle learned she’s looking for progress. Small steps towards a more relaxed dog is what she is focused on in training and just spending time with her pups.
Behavior is unpredictable, but the more Michelle observes Zoe’s behavior, understands contexts of what Zoe is communicating and knowing change takes time helps even when the not-so-good days happen. Because they do and Michelle can for sure attest to them.
What is undeniable, is Michelle’s commitment to ensuring she provides an uncompromised life for both Zoe and Maverick. She is setting not only her dogs up for success daily, but she learned to do the same for herself.
While helping dogs move through their feelings of fearfulness, you learn how your own heart can grow and empathy spills over.
Taking the time and building a social bond with your dog will help your dog feel secure, trust you and feel confident in new situations. All the things you want your dog to experience.
Let’s get started! Sign up for a Discovery Call with me and let’s chat about how you can discover how to enjoy life with your dog.