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  • Writer's pictureKari Bastyr, MS, CDBC, CPCN

Lily: Skittish Rescue Dog Had a Hard Time with Apartment Living but Blossomed With Positive Training and Lots of Patience

Dog Training Success Story Testimonial

As a college student living in an apartment, I was rather hesitant at the thought of getting a dog. The dog-lover in me eventually won over, though, and my boyfriend and I found a beautiful Shepherd mix in an ad by Ruff Rescue. The ad stated that “Wendy” was quiet and great for an apartment as she was small and well behaved. After meeting her for the first time at a local Petco we feel in love and took her home the very next morning. Taking her home for the first time, we realized that the ad had been a little off in terms of how Lily, formerly Wendy, actually was.

She was extremely skittish and protective of us. If she saw or heard anyone when we took her out of the apartment, she would break into a frenzied bark/howl that would probably send most people running for the hills, not to mention if she saw a dog AND a human! Never having handled a rescue dog like Lily before, we were determined to help her get better.

After trying various techniques at home for a month or so, we found ourselves at our wits end, fearing that we might have to give her up because she would hurt someone. Realizing our last hope was to call a professional, we finally caved and called in Kari, who was recommended by Ruff Rescue. During our first visit with Kari, I was completely impressed with how well she understood my dog, without ever having met her. In addition, she not only told us WHAT to do, but WHY we were doing it, so the engineering student in me was very please. The first training session was essentially training me on how to change my dog’s behavioral issues. Kari explained to me that it was Lily’s underlying anxiety that needed to be tackled first before any real behavioral work could begin. Slowly, over time we began to see improvements, both in Lily’s anxiety and responsiveness, as well as our own ability to understand her. Lily is no longer terrified for her life when she sees another person coming around or near her. Before all this training, she would sometimes be scared to the point where she would defecate on the spot. Now, she doesn’t even bark at people outside our apartment. Although, if she sees a dog, she will bark—but only once! Mental stimulation by her food Kongs and training techniques from Kari have helped Lily cure her overwhelming anxiety.

Lily is now more attentive and can focus, despite the presence of her normal stimuli. We can even take her on runs with us, regardless of dogs or people being around, something we never imagined would be possible. We are so grateful for Kari and her positive training techniques—without her I fear we would have given up on Lily. Thank goodness we didn’t, because Lily is the light our lives and is showing us how much she wants to get better. In addition, through Kari, I feel like I know more about my dog and many others as well. Please do not give up on your pup! There is hope, and though it may be a long process, it is incredibly worth it in the end as both you and your dog will be much happier.

Thank you!

Taylor P and Lily Golden, CO

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