I am writing today in Thanks. Over the past 2 years I have grown and matured in a way no one would ever have imagined. I remember mom and I’s first class, I was so terrified. In fear I refused to look at anyone and if I caught people staring out of the corner of my eye I’d snap and growl; my whole body shook uncontrolably; I panted and yawned and refused any treat that could be found. However, Megan and her helpers where paitient and kind, they slowly took measures to make me feel comfortable instead of assuming comfort was not a luxury I could/should be allowed to feel. They didn’t take it to heart when I refused them my attention and they didn’t yell or ‘correct’ me when I stepped ‘out of line’. They showed mom how to slowly build up my confidence, taught her how to have the perfect “Fuzzy” I could ever be without turning me into one of those poor terrifed robot dogs that are trained out of fear and live their lives walking a very fine thin line of being scared or being in pain.
Thinking back I was a little bit of a terror, but I was so scared and didn’t know any other methods of letting my feelings show, and I can’t blame mom either, with all the claimed ‘Dog Trainers’ out there it is hard to hear the truth let alone find people who will share it with you. Looking back now mom and I laugh. How simple it really was, how lucky we were to find someone who’d explain the simpliest method of all; listen to my needs and reward and nurish my positive behaviours… Really it’s that simple. Now I know listening may not have been the easiest, I’m rather vocal but talking human speak is not my fortay, though with practice and good teaching with trainers like Megan, Drae and the rest of the Dogma crew it wasn’t long till mom picked it up.
We’ve been picking up speed in my ‘maturing’ at a gradual pace, and there is not a week that goes by that I fail to astonish people at how far I’ve come. People who knew me before now give me lots of pets and love and tell me how amazing I am, instead of trying to talk over my barking, or simply refusing to socialize with me. People who are just meeting me now rarely even believe mom when she speaks about my ‘before’ and ‘after’. My favorite moments is making mom proud, you should see her beam from ear to ear when someone stands back up from an impromtu pet and coo’ing of my cuteness unscaved. I’m still hoping for a sweater that say’s “No Touchy” for christmas but for now I must just grin and bear it when people are so overwhelmed by my amazingly handsome face that they can no longer hear mom say ‘he’s not friendly’. It’s not really their fault I suppose, really who can resist my personal charm?
I think the best part of all is my new doggy friends. Dogma has changed me from the socially unaccepted scruff I was when I first walked in those doors to the confident playful dog who’s writing today. If I’m to be honest, I still need work. Large dogs still give me the willies, and I still can’t overlook some humans outrages ideas of dress, means of transportation or attitude, but I’m majorly improved and still growing. I can now go to daycare, and though I pretend to hold a grudge on Kristina when she takes me from my mom I secretly love it. I meet new friends who are my size and come home tired and content rather than just sitting at home waiting around for mom to do errands.
Why today of all days am I writing you ask? Well last night I had another ‘break through’ and thought it was about time I gave credit where credit is due. Mom and I are taking the reliable recall class, and though I am unsure of how my recall will be affected at this point, I can tell you that my confidence is growing every time I walk into class. In the class is myself, a great Dane (whom they tell me is a pup…. though he likely poos bigger than me!) and a Boxer. Drae being the wonderful person she is has set me up with my own ‘off-leash’ spot so as I do not get too overwhelmed with all the running and playing of the two giants. Last night however, I decided to give her a ‘thank you’ and push myself to the farthest of my confidence has allowed me to yet. With a tail wag and ears back I spend the class working myself up, making friends with Kristina, running through all the exercises with the ease and confidence a pro would exert, and even playfully barking at Dill the boxer when he came over to check me out through the fence. Then my chance came, as class came to a close and Drae opened the door for us to leave mom and I walked slowly up the the huge looming giant of a dog. With ears back and head held high I gave him my best ‘Hello’ I could find, and guess what! I Made it… without a grunt or a growl I let myself stand within inches of Axel and I survived! Better yet was Drae’s face. I didn’t see it but mom says the surprise on my giant leap to social acceptance was very evident.
So there it is Dogma, here I give you another success over your belt. And send all the other dogs in the world all the wishes I can summon for them to find people as devoted as you.
With love & tail wags I bid you good day, One Socially Akward, Fuzzy Dog
Note from Megan: I have known Janilee for a couple of years now and have immensely enjoyed watching her commitment to her two dogs Fuzzy and Charlotte. She has been a wonderful student as she always listens and follows our suggestions. She quickly understood that Fuzzy was living in fear and didn’t need to be corrected for his behaviour, but rather needed some guidance, patience and encouragement. She is been taking classes regularly with both of her dogs and both of them have made tremendous progress. Everyone can learn from Janilee – take the time to commit to the training and see it through and you will both be rewarded! Good job, Janilee! I look forward to seeing how they both continue to progress! They are lucky dogs to have such a committed mom