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Puppy Training- Not Just for Puppy

When we adopted Thor, I was so overjoyed with having a new family member.  He would be there to keep me company while hubby worked and I could snuggle him when I needed a snuggle fix.  Well, Thor was not all about the snuggles and was turning into a jerk. I didn't realize that by being overly affectionate with him was causing harm.  The truth is, he was feeding off my energy and he was sensing that he was the one in charge of my house.  He was reading my energy as weak because I coddled him. 
Thor is ignoring us and taking a nap instead.

In the year and a half since we have had him, we started seeing signs of bad behavior such as jumping on people, pulling on walks, and the most terrifying was growling and baring his teeth.  A few bites at my husband and it got to the point that I knew I was in over my head. My husband was ready to throw in the towel, but this dog was my dog. After an extensive Google search, I found Bonnie who runs That's a Good Dog LLC.
My first conversation with Bonnie sold me on her services.  She is a straight-shooter and knows what she is talking about.  Some people may think this forward, but I loved it.
Bonnie didn't offer to coddle me and tell me it's not my fault.  In fact, she told me that my lack of firmness with him told him he owns my house and he pays the bills. I was the reason he was being a jerk.  I needed to change my behavior to change his. By giving him constant attention he was confused about the rules in the house so he was making his own.  This caused him more stress and angst which caused him to misbehave.
Bonnie took Thor for 10 days and he came back a different dog.  He is responding to me a lot better and learning he is not the owner in this house.  His walks are no longer a struggle of tug of war and he is working up the courage to play with the neighbor's dogs instead of growling and barking at them.  I received videos and photos every day to calm my mommy's heart, but from the beginning, I knew he was in good hands with Bonnie. 
Thor is proud of his new behavior at training and got to pick out treats and a toy at the pet store.

The truth is Bonnie is a lifesaver. I wasn't prepared for the work of training. When I adopted Thor, I promised to give him a good life and I was failing.  I got fearful when he growled at us and wouldn't take him to the groomer for fear he would bite them.  I was not educated in training a dog.  I didn't know that he needed his brain to be stimulated by putting him to work. I thought cuddles, feeding, walks, and playtime was enough for him. It wasn't.  

What I have learned is that dogs like to be stimulated just by being told what to do.  They like to not have to think about things and this boosts their confidence.  I kind of wish I was a dog so my life could be that easy.  The biggest challenge is follow-through, but I am learning.  Thor has tested since he has been home but he is learning that his bad behavior is not getting him what he wants but his good behavior is.  In fact, Thor went for his first grooming appointment yesterday and all the concerns I had for him went right out the window.  He was well behaved and came out looking like a new dog.
First haircut

If you are looking for a trainer I recommend one that can work one on one with your dog. This allows the trainer to notice the behaviors your dog has.  We had looked into puppy training when Thor first came home to us through our local pet store, but it didn't fit our expectations.  Their training centered on treats and it felt like bribing and he would only be treat motivated.  This meant no treat and he wasn't going to do as he was told.

There is so much joy a pet brings to your home and the least we can do as humans is to make their life a great one.  Do your research on the trainer and make sure they implore methods you agree with. If your dog does not respond well to the trainer listen to the dog. They read energy and can tell when someone is not right to be around.

Don't choose a trainer that caters to you. They should be more concerned with the well being of the dog in an effort to help you be a better dog parent. 

Lastly, I would recommend someone that doesn't just train on the side. You want someone that will set the foundation and push you to do the work.

Bonnie has been an asset to our home life. Thor is getting more of what he needs and in turn I am getting a family member instead of a dog with an attitude that intimidates me.  I say that is a great thing.

Special thank you to Bonnie and her business- That's a Good Dog LLC. 

Find your Bonnie. 
You won't be disappointed. 

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