Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Pinky is a white pit bull mix about 85 lbs. She was a stray that wandered into T's life last year. For many months, Pinky and T's other dog did great together. Then T started working long hours and things deterioated. Here is what T has to say at the end of Behavior Training.

In a perfect world I would posses all the natural instincts and skills of Cesar Milan.  For those of you who don't know who he is, he is like the "Godfather of Dog training".  He can alter a dogs state of mind with just the touch of his fingers and resounding "Psst".  And dog and humans alike take notice.  Of course, I do not possess such powers, in fact, I am a dog whisperer in training and taking baby steps toward understanding and correcting my three dogs.

Especially, Pinky.  She is a miunderstood breed by natures.She is a pix-mix and everyone I know had deemed her a lost cause due to the aggression she was displaying on my border collie.  The fighting was very minimal at first but intensified within the last 6 months.  So my emotional level was a code red.  Nothing I did seem to stop the fighting and there was a lot of blood, all three of us got hurt.  Saddie, my border collie got the worst of it, and after several trips to the vet and my attempts in first aid, we put her back together.

I even got to the point where I was convinced that there was no solution for Pinky but putting her down. If nothing else, to stop her suffering.  But then I started to come to Seize the Leash and both Pinky and I have made tremendous progress.  I was finally able to focus on the real issues, that Pinky was afraid and acting out in an aggressive way.  Having that knowledge and understanding empowered me to become a better pack leader.  I make it a conscious effort to display confidence, remain calm even when it seems there is an attack, make quick and just corrections and keep it moving.  I no longer dwell on the situation that just happened, I collect myself and keep going.

My pack recently had a new addtion, a bouncing, jumping full of evergy 5 month old boxer-mix, and more often then not, I find myself cleaning up after her. She seems to have a particular liking to trees, potted plants and anything not made out of concrete, she'll find it and chew on it. Or in some cases, eat it.  Just like as I am writing this short essay, I discovered that Irre knocked the trash can down and helped herself to turkey bones.  My emotional level was frustration, but I remain assertive and send Pinky and Irre to the kennel.

When dealing with Saddie, who is always so nervous I have made a point to be as calm as I can around her to help her over this phase of her life.  Having learned not to coddle her when she is scared, not to encourage her hyperactivity and only give her attention when she calmed down has made a big difference.  There are still times, though, when she gets me to be frustrated because it takes her a while to get to her calm state.

Lastly, for anyone thinking of a getting a dog, think twice.  Training a dog(s), is a 24/7 job, you're always learning and it is a lot of work, but the reward comes when I can walk my three dogs without having them pull me down the street.  Even better is when I take them out on my tricycle, it is quite the show stopper, but it is also very rewarding when we are all in sync.

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