I adopted Bandura in March of 2016 after losing my dog, Kenai. It was one of those moments where you just know the dog was meant for you! I was never told about his mild aggression towards other dogs. In all my years of having dogs, I have never had a dog aggressive dog. I was so lost and frustrated. I knew that I needed help with training. I found Kari at Wag and Train and I knew that she would be a good fit. I would only consider positive reinforcement training, as I do not believe in punishment. When I met Kari for the first time I broke down in tears as I felt so alone and was struggling to come to terms with my new reality. Bandura is my dog, and aggression or not, he is with me until the end so I knew that I needed to do this.
Kari helped me understand that I was not alone and that we would work to give Bandura the best quality of life. After a few months of working with him, I was seeing pretty significant results. Bandura was going to doggy daycare once a week for half a day, and we even went to the Chatfield off-leash Dog Park and hiking! I still had to be vigilant as I would never put my dog or another dog at risk, but I felt very confident in Bandura and my ability to read him. Was he 100% ready and trustworthy to be around other dogs on leash? No, but he had more confidence and so did I! Unfortunately, Bandura tore his ACL and had to have surgery. Then we moved from a house with a yard to an apartment where he was faced with a lot of unknowns. After 2 months in an apartment, we moved to a new house where our yard wasn’t quite ready. This was a pretty big setback and Bandura started exhibiting leash aggression again. I felt like I was back at square one. I knew it was time for me to contact Kari and ask for help because she was the one person who would understand what was going on and would give me training tips to work through this. We tried a few different natural calming aids and nothing seemed to help Bandura’s anxiety. He was constantly on high alert. Finally, Kari recommended prescription anti-anxiety medications. No, these anti-anxiety meds were not for me!! I was hesitant to put my dog on meds and Kari knew that so she provided me with scientific based articles to read in order for me to make an educated decision. I decided to put him on medications, as this was the best option for us as we continued our training.
Behavior training does not stop the minute your dog is showing improvement. Training is life long and requires dedication. Bandura has taught me what it means to be patient, kind, and trusting. Kari taught me how to use those strengths in order to be the best I can for my dog. Bandura deserves to live a stress free life and I plan on giving that to him. The best advice I can give is don’t try to go at this alone, give yourself a break, and know that you are not alone. I believe that people are inserted into our lives for a reason, and Kari definitely helped me understand my dog and myself! I highly recommend Wag and Train if you are looking for training for your dog! You will not be disappointed and don’t be surprised if you learn a thing or two about yourself in the process!