Today my dog, Star, is a very confident and very happy girl - but this wasn’t always the case. As a Bernese Mountain Dog that was rescued from a puppy mill at the age of 5 months she was completely terrified of everything and also extremely claustrophobic. My Vet, who knew Star from the first day I got her, would tell you that she was well on the way to becoming a fear biter. Life was VERY stressful for Star and the smallest things would send her into a complete panic. Other times Star was so overwhelmed that all she could do was stand like a statue with her eyes bulging out. It was heartbreaking to see how traumatized Star was by her first 5 months of life.
I was given Beth’s name and contact information by someone when I happened to say that I was interested in doing clicker training with my girl. This turned out to be the most important day in the life that Star and I are still fortunate enough to share. From my point of view Beth understood several very important things… One was that Star needed to see other dogs being “ok” with life… Another was that Star’s goals for a class didn’t have to be the same as the goals for the other dogs in the same class. These first two things allowed us to move Star from whatever class she was currently in to whatever class was starting next. And, most importantly – Beth understood that the only timing that mattered when it came to training my baby girl was “Star baby” time. This meant that it was okay if a successful class for Star was just being in a corner getting treats for watching the other dogs interact with their people and life. Slowly, step by step, we worked with Star. I knew we were making some amazing progress when Star reached the point of looking at me when she was about to panic… Every muscle in her body was tensed up and she was ready to bolt – but she would hesitate and turn pleading eyes towards me… And, I would tell her she was ok, that she was safe – and her muscles would relax. Beginning to end it took 3 ½ years for Star to become a “normal” dog. Beth was with us every step of the way and without h
er knowledge, encouragement and flexibility in training methods I know that the outcome would have been very different.
Thank you Beth! You made the difference in the life Star leads today because you treat each dog as an individual. I never would have been able to accomplish this miracle in Star’s life without you.
Marilynn and Star
- Marilynn B.