Positively Success Story: Magic
I adopted an 11- month old Yorkshire terrier from a rescue group in March 2009. The rescue group warned me that she was very shy and had not had the best of starts for a puppy. I had trained several dogs and was confident that with a little patience, she would be fine. After only a few days in our home, I began to realize just how unsocialized and fearful she really was!
Our first walk was to the end of the driveway! She wanted to go for a walk, but she was so frightened of the open space and strange noises, that she flattened herself on the ground and slowly crept across the concrete driveway to sniff some grass. That’s when I realized I might be in over my head! I had read a few books from the library, but wasn’t sure how to help Magic overcome her severe fears.
I found The Dogs’ Spot Training Center on the internet and set up an appointment to meet the owner/trainer, Laura Hills for a free consultation. Laura Hills and I really hit it off! I was thrilled with her knowledge and easy going manner. Needless to say, we started family manners classes shortly after meeting. Laura uses all positive training and since has become a Positively Trainer.
The first few weeks, Magic would not come out from under my chair no matter how many treats or positive reinforcement tricks we tried. However, after the classes, I would take her on walks at the park to help make the experience more fun for her. It was hard to train her since she did not know how to play with toys, did not like to be petted very much, and was not food motivated.
When practicing at home, sometimes she would just get overwhelmed even after only a few minutes and run off to the bedroom to hide. At one point, she became afraid of the sound of a clicker, but Laura had some great ideas for marking her behaviors without it. With Laura’s helpful tips and guidance, Magic did overcome her fears. We took every class offered at The Dog Spot including Rally Obedience, Agility , Tracking, Nose Work, Tricks, and Canine Good Citizen prep. In the last 5 years Magic has earned her Canine Good Citizen title and additional titles in Rally Obedience and NADAC Regular Agility.
One of the challenges we had working off-leash in the show ring was that she likes to go visit the judges. Considering that she didn’t like any people when I got her, it was actually great to see her being so friendly even if it did hurt our chances to qualify for a title.
She has truly become a normal Yorkie with confidence and attitude befitting her breeding. She now enjoys petting, playing with toys and is treat motivated, although she still prefers to ”work” for her food – I have to put her daily kibble rations in a puzzle or she turns her nose up at it!
There is no way I could have trained Magic without the help of Laura Hills at The Dogs’ Spot and her support using only positive methods. It’s truly amazing how far Magic has come. We continu e to train at The Dogs’ Spot because Magic really loves learning new things and everyone at The Dogs’ Spot! This experience has also changed my life as I have become more involved in dog training and rescue work and help out at The Dogs’ Spot with events when needed. Pam, MO USA
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Articles from Victoria Stilwell
- Why I’m Not a Purely Positive Dog Trainer
- Becoming a Dog Trainer
- Social Bullying
- Does Your Dog Respect You?
- Differences Between Male and Female Dogs