New dogs in our lives remind us why we need to keep learning.
See the photo? That’s the house where my office is located. I use two rooms downstairs, and my husband and I usually rent the bedrooms upstairs to students at a local trade school. Only, recently, we’ve had some family members—and more recently, a family friend and her two dogs—in crisis and in need of a dog-friendly place to live. So, the owner of that dog on the roof—see the dog on the roof?—needed a place to stay, and not just any place, when you have a dog like that.
That dog has been through three homes already, and he’s only 10 months old. My friend, his current owner, is in the middle of a sudden, traumatic divorce, but before her life blew up in her face she agreed to take that dog from a friend who couldn’t handle him, who had in turn agreed to take him from the first person who couldn’t handle him. My friend, his fourth owner in 10 months, is committed to that darn dog—despite the fact that her life is suddenly in turmoil, and the dog has separation anxiety, budding dog-aggression, zero recall, terrible manners, and a voice that would wake the dead.
I’m drawing on 17 years of wisdom from the pages of WDJ to help my friend handle that dog—as well as my friend’s other dog, a two-year-old high-octane Vizsla, who also has separation anxiety (but not so severe as to make her push through a screen and jump out onto a second-story roof).
We’re employing long lines, a head collar, healthy treats, counter-conditioning and desensitization, a new diet, Kongs and other food-dispensing toys (featured in this issue—a happy coincidence), massage, T-Touch, Flower Essences, baby gates, and anything else I can think of to increase their chances of being safe and sane dogs at some point in the near future. Wish us luck!