Features April 2012 Issue

How an Intense Behavior Modification Program Saved One Puppy's Life

A rare early photo of Squid sitting still. Teaching him to sit in order to “say please” for anything he wanted played a big role in “civilizing” the strong-willed, energetic puppy.

How an Intense Behavior Modification Program Saved One Puppy's Life

A darling dog with way too much energy, attitude, and bite strength is transformed into a solid canine citizen.

Squid almost didn’t make it to the dog adoption option at the Humane Society of Washington County (HSWC), Maryland. Whole Dog Journal readers who have been with us for a year or more already know part of his story: the eight-week-old Jack Russell Terrier mix was surrendered to our full-service shelter by his owners because they “didn’t have time for him.” What that really meant was that the small white-and-tan pup was a heckuva handful: they couldn’t deal with his incredibly high energy level, fierce puppy play-biting, low tolerance for frustration, lack of impulse control, resource guarding, and sudden, intense aggression when restrained. He easily failed his canine behavior assessment. It’s a good thing he was impossibly cute! We started by identifying all Squid’s inappropriate behaviors and creating a modification plan for each. Some of the pieces overlapped, so it wasn’t quite as daunting as it might appear – but it was still plenty to work on!

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