Jenny Shares Lucy’s Story…
“My dog is a real dog. She is not perfect.
Ask any trainer how they got started and they will most likely tell you a story of being inspired by that one truly special dog, a dog that really challenged them. For me, that was Lucy, Give Paw Dog Training’s mascot. Lucy was anything but perfect when I first adopted her. At several years old, she was not housetrained. Instead she preferred to pee in my bathroom. She didn’t walk nicely on leash. Instead, she dragged me down the street lunging at every bicycle, skateboard, and pigeon within sight. Instead of playing nicely with dogs, she preferred to nip the small ones in the rear because she mistook them for prey and with the big ones, well… let’s just say she didn’t exactly speak the same language. Even with all those strikes against her, like many rescued dogs, Lucy had a lot of redeeming qualities. I don’t believe I’d ever met another dog with such great love of people. She would welcome anyone as long as they would just pet her and show her some affection. She’d never destroyed the house and she was always willing to share her toys with you. She was also quite adorable.
Through lots of hard work using positive training techniques and behavior modification, I’m happy to report that Lucy is very much a different dog today than when she first entered my life. She was completely housetrained within two weeks of being adopted thanks to the help of luncheon meat as a reward for going in the right place. She no longer lunges at bicycles and skateboards and her leash walking and dog-to-dog reactivity have greatly improved through a combination of training and management. We continue to work together everyday to meet old as well as new challenges. We even earned her Novice Trick Dog Title (NTD).
Lucy has taught me many lessons a trainer should learn. The most important one and perhaps, humbling, is that no dog is perfect. Not even mine. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t improve relationships between dogs and their humans and tackle problems that they face together. The key to success when working with your dog is setting realistic goals, thereby setting yourself and your dog up to succeed.”
Update: Lucy passed in December 2015 at the age of 14. I have decided to leave this page up as a tribute to her, my first teacher and the one who inspired my journey. Since then, I have added Josie, a Blue Nose Pit Bull to my family. Josie continues Lucy’s legacy of educating me. She holds a Novice Trick Dog Title (NTD), an Intermediate Trick Dog Title (ITD), and is currently pursuing her Advanced Trick Dog Title (ATD).
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