Meet The Inspiration Behind It All
Eli was rescued from a high kill shelter in NY just days away from euthanasia. He was the perfect dog if you stayed at home and never ever left your house (not even for five minutes). In spite severe separation anxiety I refused to give up on him. We were faced with many challenges throughout the years, but anyone who has ever looked into his big beady eyes or has had the pleasure of experiencing the infamous Eli hugs and kisses instantly falls in love. I mean come on, just look at that face, how could you not?!
We have lost many doors, crates, and carpets in our house over the years from destructive behaviors which are a symptom of separation anxiety. Animal control has had me on speed dial since he learned to open our French doors, broke the lock, and pushed through barricades placed in front of the door. Somehow Eli, aka "Houdini", would figure out how to undo bungee chords and child locks that we were forced to use in an attempt to keep him from running freely around the neighborhood.
A Facebook memory pops up every year on the anniversary of the day he broke through a screen window, jumping out onto the roof of the house. Yes, the roof of the house... I have a picture as proof if you don't believe me and trust me when I say that it is more than embarrassing being forced to tell your manager that you have to leave work because your dog is stranded on your roof. While we look back on this today and laugh, I was nearly at my wits end. Despite my frustration I refused to give up on him... I am no quitter!
Separation anxiety is a behavioral problem that is extremely difficult to tackle without the help of a knowledgeable trainer, but I was determined to do it on my own. I worked with Eli using some behavior modification techniques for months. When we decided to bring another dog into the home, Eli's anxiety had improved drastically. While some of the behavior would come to surface once in a while, his episodes were few and far between.
Maximas is 100 pounds of pure bred German Shepherd. I spent weeks researching breeders in order to avoid any health and behavior issues that were known to the breed. Since dogs can learn behaviors from each other I took steps in order to ensure that Maximas did not show any signs of distress when left alone.
Having owned a German Shepherd in the past I know all too well what can happen if this breed is not well socialized at a young age, yet I took on the challenge. We took Max with us everywhere we went ensuring that he would grow up into a confident adult dog with the proper tools to deal with whatever life threw at him. Today he is a well balanced, reliable, easy going, goofy, loving, adult German Shepherd.
The moral to the story is ....
Owning a dog of any age takes time and tons of patience, but when you put in the work it is well worth it in the end!
Dogs with behavior problems are not a lost cause or damaged goods.
Dogs of any age CAN indeed learn new tricks with a little extra work and a motivated owner to help guide them.