If you’re reading this, you’ve probably searched the internet for terms like “reactive dogs,” or “aggressive behavior in dogs,” or something of that nature. Maybe you’re looking for answers on why your dog seems different and difficult to handle. Maybe you’re looking for support with your dog because you can’t seem to find it in-person. Whatever the case may be, I’m here to share two important messages:
1) You are absolutely NOT alone!
2) It is HIGHLY possible that your dog CAN be helped!
I say this with confidence because when our dog Kaia came to us, she was–zero exaggerations–as bad as it gets without being a full-blown, can’t-be-rehabbed, actually-dangerous dog.
For the entire first year we had Kaia, we struggled. Worked with a trainer straight out the gate, trying several methods and tools. Added in CBD for a time before upgrading to fluoxetine (Prozac). We were exhausted and frustrated with her as well as ourselves and each other. We felt hopeless and knew that if we couldn’t break through to her, the only other option would be euthanasia.
Somehow, despite several conversations around that very idea, we were both up for the challenge. Maybe we’re crazy. Maybe we’re both just stubborn. All I do know is from the moment we met her, Kaia greeted us like a couple of old friends. Around the home, she seemed like a normal dog. In environments with no distractions, she knew how to have fun. We saw her potential and knew with the right guidance and training, Kaia could overcome most (maybe someday all) of her issues.
It’s been a long road. Most of the “delays” are honestly more the result of handler errors than any fault of Kaia’s. We needed time while we learned the skills and confidence we needed for Kaia to succeed. We also needed to learn how to best communicate with Kaia. Once all the puzzle pieces fell into place, our progress blazed along.
I encourage you to let our journey inspire your own. It’s a wonderful thing to recognize milestone moments in the training process. But it’s so much more beautiful when you take time to appreciate the little steps along the way.
The hard work pays off and the days WILL get better if you put in the time. Don’t give up!
Zae & Brian