Sherman, Great Pyrenees mix, age 3, was a stray that wandered onto a horse farm in really rough shape. He was very thin, his coat was matted and he was absolutely terrified of people and the world around him. I’m told he hung around the farm for weeks but wouldn’t let anyone come close. It took trapping (humanely) him in order to get him to a vet to get checked out and assess his medical needs.
No one knows exactly what happened to him as a young pup but it is safe to say he had been through some serious trauma. While he has always been comfortable and playful around other dogs, for Sherman humans were a different story all together. His foster mother warned me that adopting him would be a huge project and even requested that I not make a final decision about keeping him for thirty days after taking him home. I was committed to him from day one and knew I would never take him back, but I must admit his progress was very, very slow and I wondered if he would ever truly bond. He would cower and scurry away at any attempt to approach him, he would not come when called and any sudden noise or unexpected movement would throw him for a loop and leave him frazzled for hours. He was scared of the dish washer, kitchen floor, door bell. Getting him to come in the house when off leash would sometimes take hours and lots of hotdogs (his favorite treat). This went on for four exasperating months and I was at my wits’ end.
I’ve had dogs all my life but knew that his issues were out of my league and that I would need professional help to rehabilitate Sherman. He needed a lot…confidence, socialization and training and I needed a lot of help to help him. After researching my options I decided on a comprehensive approach offered by Diane Gallagher at DogTrain. We took all three, five (?) week group courses in succession, had “house call” consultations and we continue to go to play group for socialization. A critical piece of Sherman’s rehab has been training with a remote e-collar. Early on Diane recommended training with a e-collar but I was very reluctant to go this route as it seemed counterintuitive to use with an anxious dog. All I can say is boy was I wrong!
With each of Diane’s courses and interventions Sherman learned new positive behaviors and today his confidence continues to grow with each of his successes. Watching his progress has been incredibly rewarding. Commitment, lots of patience but most importantly deliberate interventions with professional help are truly powerful tools in healing. Thanks to Diane and DogTrain Sherman is happy, at ease and enjoying life. Has he ever bonded? Yep, he even jumps in the bed to snuggle!
Today, Diane is helping me with a new challenge…Winnie, a 20 lb sassy, scrappy terrier mix with too much confidence!