Yes, you can teach an old dog new tricks! Maggie was 6 years old and we had spent 5 ½ years trying to make her into an obedient dog that we could happily live with. We were not having any success. We were at the point that we thought we would have to find a new home for our Maggie. She would run at full speed from our laps (leaving the claw marks to prove it) to bark at the door, you couldn’t hold a conversation with anyone at the door. After calming down a bit she would bark every time the visitor moved. When company came, we would put her in our bathroom so we could visit. She was very nervous around small kids and was starting to growl and nip at them.
We did puppy obedience – two sets of classes. She still wouldn’t walk on leash without pulling. We bought a gentle leader to be able to walk this small dog without having our arms constantly pulled. These classes didn’t address the barking at home.
When the barking was more than we could take we found a program that provided in home training. After two sessions she was much improved, with the training device in hand. She knew when you didn’t have it and then she was out of control. Verbal commands had little effect on her. With this method we were making more noise trying to get her to be quiet. She was still on a gentle leader for walks and passing another dog was a tug of war with the leash.
We didn’t know if we were at fault or the methods were just not making any impression on her. After two years of trying to control her things were just getting worse. She was very nervous around little children and nipped at our 3 year old nephew when he was playing near her. Now she had to go away when visitors came and especially when small children were here. We got on the internet one day and started looking for some personal training. Maybe someone could at least tell us if we just weren’t doing things correctly or if we had to find this dog a new home because she was putting children in our home at risk and driving us crazy with her barking.
The first site that came up in my search was Sit Happens. We looked through all the other matches and nothing came close to this training program. We watched the training videos and read about the Puppies of the Month. This sounded too good to be true. Could we really have a dog that would stay in one place (even with other dogs around), come on command and just be the obedient dog we had always dreamed of?
Sit Happens came to our house for a demonstration and we were amazed. They understood all our issues and assured us that they could show us how to deal with each of them. We didn’t have to think about this for long. After all the investment we had made in our dog, and knowing all her good attributes that were being forgotten, and hoping that this would mean we could enjoy her company for years to come, we called Jeff and set up our first appointment. Changes began right away. You don’t have to wait long to know that this program is really going to work.
The in home sessions are great for specific problems and we really enjoy the training lessons out in the parks. We always have all our questions answered and really feel like we get individual attention.
Today our family and friends comment that we must have gotten a new dog that just looks like Maggie. Now she sits in the living room and doesn’t disturb anyone at anytime. What amazes us is that she is just a calmer dog. When the gardeners come to work in our complex she used to spend the day barking at them. Now, she just peacefully goes about her business. When someone comes to the door she may bark once or twice but then stops. As we greet our visitors we can have a conversation and she will sit calmly by my side.
Another aspect that we appreciate about this program is that everyone in the family has an equal ability to give the dog commands, and have her obey them. The whole family took part in the in-home sessions, with each member trying out the new methods. Even our three year old nephew has his commands to practice with a reward of a play time with Maggie, who will run with him and have him sit right by her and rub her tummy!
Thank you Sit Happens!