Adopted at 18 months, Bubba is a handsome male boxer who immediately settled into his new family. Their active lifestyle suits his outgoing personality and they take Bubba everywhere with them. Well mannered and friendly, Bubba is an easy companion, until he sees another dog. Trips to the park, soccer games, and even daily walks became increasingly stressful as Bubba’s dog aggression escalated.
When Bubba’s owners brought him to Abby Kennels for an evaluation, trainer Kevin Lanouette watched him interact with his family and kennel staff. Bubba sat nicely, laid down quietly and even stayed peacefully when his owner dropped the leash and ducked into another room. He was the poster child for “older” adoption until Kevin brought out his own dog. Bubba became a different dog – barking, lunging, showing teeth.
After exploring several training options, Bubba’s owners choose the residential training program at Abby Kennels. Bubba would stay at the kennel for a month while Kevin worked on curbing his dog aggression.
Kevin immediately worked on building a relationship with Bubba, earning his trust, keeping his attention and establishing a leadership position. Then he began re-creating the environment that triggered Bubba’s dog aggression. Different dogs were used to distract Bubba during his training sessions. Using strong corrections, Kevin taught Bubba that all his attention must be focused on him, not the other dogs. His goal was to teach Bubba to follow his lead only. Sessions were kept short and always ended with play. As Bubba learned to ignore the other dogs coming and going in his training environment, the next step was “the real world.” Every day, Kevin brought Bubba to a different field and reviewed his obedience. Each session ended at a place sure to have other dogs – pet stores, local parks, busy trails ….
Of course, the true test of any residential training program is how all that training carries over into the dog’s home. Bubba’s owners had several lessons themselves. Kevin taught them how to maintain the firmness and consistency that Bubba experienced while living at the kennel. Bubba went home after a month, and if this was a fairy tale, he would be living happily ever after. Instead, he had several set-backs and frustrations. Using the follow up support offered by the Kennel, Bubba and his owners returned to tighten up his obedience and prevent any slipping.
Residential dog training is not for everyone. It takes a great leap of faith to leave your dog in someone else’s hands – even if those hands belong to a professional. For Bubba’s owners, this type of training fit their lifestyle and needs. Bubba still stops in to visit and Abby Kennels is proud to report that he hasn’t had an aggressive incident in over six months!
Like us on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/AbbyKennels) and follow us on Twitter (@dogmankevin).