Kate and I have been long time dog owners of several different breeds including Border Collie, Sheltie, and West Highland Terrier.Our extended family members have owned many different dogs that we have cared for and we’ve tended to think of ourselves as comfortable with all manner of dog behavior.
In early September 2012, a new West Highland Terrier pup named Ellie came into our lives. At the time, she was only about 10 weeks old. She was quite lovable as puppies go but was beginning to exert her Westie will on us in many different ways.We had experienced it with our previous Westie, Duff, but with Duff we had not used any formal obedience training. We just tolerated much of his behavior as something that was inherent with his breed.
This time with Ellie we wanted to find a way to be more in control especially at her age and level of socialization. It seemed like an ideal window of opportunity. My sister and brother-in-law, Bridget and Jurgen, had been using Sit Happens for more than a few years for their poodles Nora and Nick.We had seen how the dogs could be even-tempered and obedient. They were playful yet gentle with our little dogs.We were curious about the Sit Happens training techniques. Jeff explained the program very well over the phone and encouraged us to learn more about some of the other puppy success stories. He also suggested we meet with Marilyn at a local park for a demonstration of Sit Happens training on a young puppy not much older than Ellie. Marilyn was very professional and confident with her dogs. It was very clear to us that the program had much to offer in improving our ability to communicate with Ellie.
Once Marilyn started with her first few personal visits, we saw a marked change in Ellie’s ability to focus on our “come” command and she was a pleasure to walk on her leash. We could quickly correct her unwanted chewing behavior on curtains and our feet.
We could keep her in place when people come to the door. Over the next few months Ellie has learnt to walk to heel, sit at a distance, and come to us with all types of distractions in play.
At 9 months of age, Ellie has become a well-socialized, even-tempered, and attentive dog.She can be a pleasure for others to handle too. Occasionally she’s in the care of someone with cats. Ellie wants to play but recognizes the boundaries the cats set and is not aggressive to them. She’s playful, curious, and appears to have the potential to learn so much more.
Sit Happens provides many learning opportunities for us and Ellie and has given us the confidence to lead Ellie where we need to.