Our family was happy and excited to get our first puppy, Stella. Stella is a beautiful pure breed husky and we brought her to our home when she was just over seven weeks old. Stella was a little shy for the first week, very intelligent and we worked hard to help her settle into our home. Stella was a wonderful addition to our family and we thought we had the perfect puppy.
Being a stay-at-home parent, I had lots of time to devote to her training and providing her with lots of exercise and stimulation. We became a little concerned about her behavior when she started showing signs of aggression, guarding her toys, and chew treats ( lip curling, low growls etc ). We tried hard to break her of the habit, but she just became more unstable, appearing friendly and then suddenly snapping without warning.
The seriousness of the situation did not seem to sink in until our neighbour agreed to dog-sit her for a day while our family when to a wedding. When we returned home, we were startled to hear that Stella had bitten our neighbour (Stella found a dead bunny under the deck and when the neighbour tried to get the carcass away from Stella – the dog attacked). we decided that Stella needed some professional help.
We hired, a local trainer to help with Stella. We followed the trainer’s instructions and suggestions, but Stella became even more aggressive (biting my wife and children). Stella’s behavior became dangerous to our friends and family. Stella had escalated from a moody dog to a very unpredictable and dangerous pet. Although she was still very good with me, she was increasingly aggressive with the rest of our family. We quickly realized that our current trainer was very incompetent and his techniques were only exasperating Stella’s behavior.
We were ready to get rid of Stella. The stress and worry had paralysed our family – people though we were nuts to try to rehabilitate our dog.
My sister-in-law suggested to enlist the help of Sandra Brown (as she had used Sandra with her dog). We knew this would be Stella’s last chance.
Sandra came to visit our family (a two hour drive). Sandra suggested that we avoid eye-contact with Stella ( she finds that direct eye-contact is confrontational and makes Stella very uncomfortable ). Always give her treats from behind without looking directly at Stella. Never use harsh tones. When she exhibits bad manners distract her into doing something positive etc. The results were evident immediately!
Stella did not know what to make of this new approach. Within the next two days, we all noticed that Stella was developing good manners, was calmer and more obedient. Over the next few weeks, and then into months, Stella had become a very different dog, less aggressive, much more responsive and predictable. As owners we became much more aware of Stella’s signals and attuned to her mood.
Sandra’s approach has made a world of difference to us and our dog. Stella’s still not perfect but she has made some incredible improvement. My wife and children are no longer afraid of Stella. The kids love playing with our adorable dog, they have learned valuable strategies in how to handle situations and we are all much more confident dog owners.
Sandra Brown is incredible. My whole family watches The Canine Interpreter (Sandra’s show) … in fact the only time Stella ever appears to have any awareness of the TV is when Sandra’s show is on (it’s quite comical to watch Stella’s reaction). Sandra is always available to help with our training, we give her progress reports and feedback – Sandra responds to our requests in a very timely manner and has always been available to provide advice and support.
Thank you Sandra Brown for being such a great help when we needed it most.
Steve Kobal and family.