Friday, April 24, 2009

My cute little puppy is now 16 months old and close to being full grown. It was a rough year. As he turned into a horse of a dog, I became his favorite chew. I don't mean playful puppy bites. I mean broken skin, bloody arm, constant scabs, and torn clothes. Many times my neighbors came running to my screams to rescue me from my large, overpowering puppy. I went through many trainers--none worth mentioning. Time and time again I was told by each trainer to get rid of the dog when each trainer failed to solve the problem. I just wrote them off as bad trainers. After all, where would Victoria Stilwell (Animal Planet) be if all she did was tell people to get rid of their dog. As she says, any dog can be trained. When they brought her show to LA and had a cast call, I applied, but I was outside the travel radius. However, through her shows, I learned to identify my dog's fear, which leads to aggression, and address it and extinguish it. I also resorted to using an electronic collar, which Victoria does not approve of, but only 2 shocks established me as the leader. Believe me, it was the last resort. As a person in a wheelchair, Spirit had come to understand he could overpower me. I had to convince him otherwise. I haven't been bit since August, 2008.

I bought Spirit to be my service dog. The first training program did not work out. After a lot of research, I finally found Aleita Downer of Cape-Able Canines in La Mesa, CA. After all the bad trainers, I finally found a capeable and experienced one who is knowledgeable on training service dogs.