I'm still grateful every day for Mary's help. When I started having problems with my rescue pup I first reached out to a behaviorist who was recommended to me by the adoption organization. When I told her about the challenges I was having with Leo, she seemed convinced that Leo had deep-seated anxieties that would surely develop into aggression, and she let me believe that everything I had tried with him up until that point was driving him further into fear. Fortunately, something in my core didn't believe that, so I reached out to Mary instead. She instantly made me feel safe to share my trials and errors, and in turn, she has helped make Leo feel safe. While Leo still has inexplicable moments, even my partner has a hard time believing the stories I've shared of his hiding, growling, shaking, barking, and biting. When we walk in the neighborhood, neighbors compliment his manners and jokingly ask me to train their dog. (Of course, I give them Mary's name instead!).
After two private sessions and having fun in Mary's virtual backyard agility class, I made a goal on June 1 to teach Leo 30 “tricks” by the end of the month, and here’s the result!
I really credit the work with Mary for the ability to try a lot of those skills. I think Leo's trust in me has really strengthened, and I'm much more comfortable in where to stand firm and when to take a few steps back as different ways I can try to help when he's having a tough time. So confidence and comfort level for both of us has improved tremendously, and I think we're both having fun even as we're working hard.
I am so very grateful for Mary's patience and support as we worked through some really big bumps at the beginning. Those struggles are getting less and less frequent and significantly less intense. Again, I'm still considering this the first step of a longer journey, but what an incredible leap it has been. I can't fully speak for Leo, but I'm pretty sure both of us are really happy!
Thank you, thank you!
Erin S. from Gaithersburg, MD
Associate Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist
Elite Fear Free Certified Professional
Montgomery County, MD
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