We want to hear from all of you who have developed Dialogue® with your dogs! Updates on your progress and success, your fun and delight, with your dogs in your life and practice will encourage others as they devote themselves to giving the gift of Dialogue to their dogs
We adopted Ralph, a Lhasa/Terrier mix, from a local shelter about 3 years ago. He has been a really good dog, except for one problem that I could not solve. Ralph would get so excited in the car that he would bark from the time I backed out of the driveway until we got to our destination. If I dared to use my blinkers, he would go into a frenzy.
We paid a fortune for a well-known trainer, bought books, tapes and every gimmick on the market--thousands of dollars in all. I even used a silent whistle--I drove around blowing the stupid whistle while Ralph barked along. After shaker cans, spray bottles, treats and praise, I resorted to a muzzle. All this did was make me feel guilty, and it only muffled the barks.
When we adopted our second dog, Abby, I knew I had to do something. She was a very quiet, well-behaved dog, but Ralph's barking was getting her going too. Having two dogs barking in my ears was not the best way to drive around Los Angeles. Someone even suggested an herbal tranquilizer, which I never considered for Ralph, but I did think of taking them myself!
Then I started with Dialogue, which I was already using successfully with shelter dogs. After a couple of weeks of Dialogue, I noticed that we were able to get to the corner of our street with hardly any noise. I kept practicing with him, and as of today, Ralph is so quiet in the car I have to check to see if he's OK. We've been using Dialogue for approximately 5 weeks, and I still can't believe how it has worked. Our rides in the car are so pleasant now. My friends at the dog park are also amazed; they all saw me at my wit's end, many times in tears.
I can't thank you enough for saving my sanity and my relationship with Ralph. If anyone doubts that Dialogue works, I can honestly say that this was the only thing that worked for us. I'm just sorry that I didn't find you three years ago!
Breeze had severe problems from the very beginning. We bought her as an 8-month-old from her breeder. She proved difficult to potty train, so we hoped she could stay in the fenced yard when we were gone. She jumped the fence and attacked the neighbor's dog several times, despite punishment. We put her on a chain. She broke the chain, jumped the fence, and attacked the neighbor's dog. She ended up on a 3-foot chain in the garage. I couldn't walk her as she was too strong and out of control. Breeze was always afraid of humans. She wouldn't let anyone touch her. She snapped out of fear and bit me twice.
She is now the dog I've always wanted to have. She has confidence because she has learned to always look to me for direction. I can take her out anywhere without worrying about what she will do. Who would ever have believed it a year ago?
Rajah's mother was our dog, one whom we'd rescued. She would run the fence and chase anyone who walked by the house, viciously barking. I phoned a trainer in the area where I was living at the time. She absolutely refused to work with her and advised me over the phone to put the dog down immediately. The trainer diagnosed her, sight unseen, as 'dominant aggressive.' Understandably, I became leery of trainers.
Then along came Rajah. I assumed that she was as content and happy as any dog could possibly be. She has three girls to look after, she never has to stay outside, she gets bones, chew toys, rides in the car, etc. on a regular basis. What's not to be happy about, I said. But she wasn't, and the sad thing is, I didn't even know it. She was a very playful pup who became a very loving dog. But around the time Rajah turned three, she started acting differently around strangers. She would often snap at anyone who came into the house if they tried to touch her. Then came the day in midsummer 1998 when she chased down a boy on his bicycle and grabbed him by the ankle.
I was wary of trainers, but I needed advise. I am so glad that Judy had her ad in the Yellow Pages. She shared with me some of her many success stories of dogs, whom I have since met, whose problems were far worse than Rajah's. When I hung up the phone, I had a much deeper understanding of Rajah's behavior, and more hope than I could have ever imagined. During the very first lesson, Judy assessed that Rajah had very little, if any, self-confidence, hardly any self-esteem, and that she is incredibly sensitive. This explained so much. I have learned that all Rajah ever wanted to do was please us, her family. She just didn't know how. Judy's job isn't to train the dog. It is to train the human to help the dog know what is expected and wanted.
I have watched a dog whom I was unable to take on a walk because she would literally drag me down the street become a dog that my two-year-old can walk; a dog who would cower if you so much as looked at her crossly, become a dog who is happy, content and no longer intimidated by her environment, who greets strangers expectantly and affectionately. She can sit quietly on a sit-stay in the center of a circle of bicycling children. I have learned so much about human behavior in learning how to work with my dog.
(Jazzie, a German Shepherd age 3-1/2 when adopted, had been kept in a small kennel with no socialization her whole life. She was "aggressive" toward dogs and people and had bitten two people since being rescued by the writer.)
Thank you for your encouragement with our dog training. After getting your e-mail, we did as you suggested, and with constant praise and having Jazzie in a sitting position, she was okay around dogs and people. Judy, your e-mail was such a God-send as we were ready to give up. You can't imagine the excitement around here when she behaved and controlled herself in the presence of dogs and people that have always scared her so badly! It is a marvelous blessing because we love our baby so much. Thank you.
There is no way that the method taught in your book won't train an otherwise untrainable dog—as our Jazzie was. I wish the National Enquirer would do another article about the people who have had good results with your training. That is where we learned about you. We had decided not to buy any more dog books. Since you were said to be a "dog whisperer," we thought it might work. You have gone way above any other dog trainer in solving our problem. We had been told many times to put Jazzie down. We wouldn't do it because Jazzie was perfect in every other way.
Judy, you are a very generous, kind and helpful dog trainer. There isn't another like you. This training puts no stress on the dogs, and they learn quickly. Getting your book and video is absolutely the best money we ever spent. Thank you and Godspeed in selling your books and tapes to help all problem dogs or for training puppies. Thank you, thank you.
(Note: This was written before Judy relocated to Montana.) I have to tell you how thrilled and excited I am! Mobley and I attended Judy's training clinic this past weekend, and I am still nearly too shocked for words with respect to Mobley's improvement! After just a few minutes with Judy, he was walking politely on lead, not lunging at passing pooches or people and is so happy and confident in his ability to have Dialogue with me.
I recently got both your book and video, and I absolutely need to write to tell you how fabulous you are. Your insight is incredible; your teachings ring so profoundly true.
Daily, I am thankful for the wondrous lessons that I have been able to learn because of Dialogue. WOW, YOU SHOULD SEE HER FLYING RECALL. It really, really, really is a heartstopper! We were out at the Point Isabel dog park just a few days ago (about 15 acres, right on the San Francisco Bay). I have been SO focused on "getting it right" with Silka, that I haven't been too aware of others.... But, now my head is up all the time, and my step is perkier with confidence about our communication (!!). Suddenly I was stunned by the fact that I was the only human out there—among 20-30 others—who was using praise in anticipation. What a shame.....!
I haven’t written to you in so long, so I just have to take a minute and say THANK YOU, bless you, you’ll never know how much love and joy you’ve brought into our world!! I was frantic about 6 or 7 years ago with my over-exuberant, almost uncontrollable, self-willed Giant Schnauzer puppy. She was just too full of joy, too much to handle, too vigorous, too self- determined. I almost took her back!! But I found you, and I instantly could hear the wisdom and rightness of Dialogue. It is so right and true. Dialogue makes my heart sing! SO, we now have two big, bounding, exhilarated Giant Schnauzers who greet the morning everyday with a big “YES! YIPEE! IT’S ANOTHER DAY ON THE PLANET!!! They are filled with joy and dignity, and, without a doubt, we are a team. I’m the one in charge of making sure we’re safe around cars, and I get to choose the places we’re going to go to. They’re the ones in charge of the sense of humor and play. They’re the ones that constantly check in to make sure I don’t get lost…… (“Poor Mom, if we wander too far from her, she tends to get lost in bushes and behind trees or big rocks. We rush back to fetch her when that happens, so we have to keep pretty close to her to watch out for her…”).
What joy! We have so much FUN, and life is supposed to be fun, and that’s what Dialogue is all about. Silka and Misha and I are in conversation, communicating, big time. And my husband? You know what my husband has now started saying to me?? “You’ve done such a good job with these dogs. They are the best dogs I’ve ever known in my life.” And that’s the nicest thing anyone has ever told me. But hey, ‘twasn’t really me. I was just doing the pure sweet truthful methods that you taught! And these two gorgeous fully-alive dogs are the best friends I could ever ask for. Thank you. Bless you!
I went to Buena Vista to learn Dialogue with much skepticism. An old geezer like me who has had dogs all his life has been exposed to many different modes of obedience training—classes at vets and pet stores, books, videos, etc. Thought I had seen it all. Many of us know what love and patience can do for an abused, fearful, high anxiety dog. A good example is my dog Mikey, 125 pounds of pure love and some high-anxiety, fearful behaviors that many people would see as vicious. Everyone who has been around us these last 3-1/2 years has talked about how far he's come. And yes, he is much better with the people he has come to know well. But what happens in Buena Vista and what we learn to do at home goes beyond love and patience; it is dog therapy.
The phone rings, and a frantic voice is asking me if I can help with a dog. A friend of a friend has a Leonberger, and no, I had never heard of one either. I go to meet the people and their dog, believing that my mission will be to help them with some training tips. I arrive to see this magnificent creature inside a large crate and wearing a pronged collar. His people tell me he is "out of control," and they have been told by professional trainers and the Leonberger Rescue Society that he needs to be put down. I learn he's put into the crate whenever another person or dog is around, or when he is "misbehaving," or whenever it is convenient. They tell me he has bitten people twice. Strange stories they tell me—one was a man who was bitten on the arm, but the skin was not broken. This "dangerous" dog with a head the size of a Volkswagen did not even break the skin? I am told the pronged collar is the only way they can possibly walk him. I'm also told he must take "Prozak or Valium for dogs" daily.
Let me tell you what has happened. I have bred and shown smooth and rough collie dogs for 26 years. Several are herding instinct certified as well as having a championship in conformation. Hans is a blue smooth male who turned two years old January 1st. I am the breeder and the owner. Hans is not a large dog, weighing in at about 58 pounds. ...Hans has always been a very sweet dog and an intelligent clown. He would let himself out of his run, and then let the other dogs out until I started clipping the gates. He knows how to open doors, turn on lights, etc. He's a thinker! ...
Having just lost our adored Wolfhound to bone cancer, my husband John and I decided that instead of having a new puppy, we would rescue a dog. The Flatcoated Retriever breed rescue society had two older dogs to rehome -- a five-year-old bitch, and four-year-old Oscar. I really intended to have a bitch this time, but ended up with Oscar. I'm sure that decision was made by Fate, not us!
...You'll be as thrilled as we are to hear of further success with Oscar. Do you remember I told you about his horrific nightmares? Well, he's not had one for 16 months!!!!!!! At last something must have healed!! He's 9-1/2 now, and getting a bit stiff, but otherwise doing very well.
Pat, Windsor, U.K.
This 116 -pound, 3½ year-old, hair-shedding and loud-barking hulk has roamed through my little house, car and clothes for about seven months now. Before his arrival, I had just completed the remodel of my cottage style house with hardwood floors throughout and special paint applications, and the tiny yard was lush with new plantings and irrigation. Just a couple years prior, I lived in detailed perfection and had a housekeeper.
Vinnie of New Jersey was a Vietnam veteran with various mental and physical problems, and he was my neighbor . He adopted Bo at the Los Angeles Animal Shelter after his beloved German Shepherd of many years died. He and Bo lived in a rented one-bedroom duplex with no fenced yard. Bo traveled and spent many hours in a covered dune buggy-type vehicle. When Vinnie had to see doctors in LA, his buddy would walk Bo. I told Vinnie that I would take care of Bo if he needed help. I was speaking of emergency situations, but it ran through my mind that if something incapacitated Vinnie or he died, I would take care of Bo. I had no reason for these thoughts. As a young girl, I loved German Shepherds. I always planned to have another dog one day but probably something mid-size. Then came the day when I received a call telling me that Vinnie had died unexpectedly. I told them not to do anything with Bo because I would take him.
I brought Bo home, and we proceeded to get acquainted. I’m 60 years old, and he’s a strong dog. I wasn’t afraid of what he might do to me, but I was afraid of situations. Bo had a problem with other dogs. And he was not a peaceful dog. I became a nervous wreck with the drool, barking, hot spots, no eating, and hair all over my house. His walks with me were enjoyable but time consuming. What had I done? Should I actually keep this dog? I connected with several agencies, and my inbox was full of messages from people wanting to take Bo. But nothing sounded good enough, and finally I decided I couldn’t let him go. This would be his third move.
My friend in North Carolina told me about Judy Moore and her DVD. I found her website and learned she would be having a clinic in my region in a week! I watched her DVD, read the book and registered Bo for the “dog only” one-day portion of her clinic. I registered to audit the clinic for that day to help me understand the process for helping Bo. At that point I hadn’t totally made my decision about him. I began to relax with the idea of keeping Bo when I was reminded that I was his caretaker and didn’t have to keep him. But the final decision came with Judy’s class. With all the trauma and unknowns in Bo’s life, he was an extra nervous dog. Judy thought she had asked me to bring a muzzle, but I didn’t have one.
She worked with Bo twice that day and had to take him a distance away from the group so he would focus. He was big, strong and nervous. Maybe even Judy was a bit uncertain. Bo’s second session was the last event of the day. She had him doing every command she gave him, including Stay off-leash. She did have to manage him into a couple positions, and that took some strength. (Judy owns and loves German Shepherds also.) She walked Bo back to me and (while catching her breath) said that Bo didn’t have a mean bone in his body. She said he could have “nailed” her several times but simply performed as requested (sometimes looking back trying to see me). Judy said Bo was sent to me, and I was sent to Dialogue®. I knew in my heart that she was exactly right. I drove the two hours to home relaxed, excited and ready to accept the challenge of a new life with Bo.
I can’t imagine not having Bo. For now, he’s the man in my life. He is so much better about dogs now, and I have gained confidence in handling him. Some friends may have to adjust to a wet nose, a drippy tongue and wagging tail. This is Bo’s home, too, and we come as a package. His clock tells him when it’s ball time. We have about a 30 x 5 foot field on the side of the house. That, with an extra large patio, makes up my entire backyard. This “ball field” has several ferns and camellia plants. I’ve only lost one plant, and that was at “home plate”…….didn’t need it there anyway!
But besides all these fine, warm events, Bo has an important job in this world which, of course, he performs faithfully. My five-year-old niece doesn’t live with either of her parents. Mostly her grandmother is raising her, and I often keep her on weekends. Before I got Bo, she would often be in a bad mood when I picked her up…..she could be nasty and didn’t want to talk. Now, she can’t wait to see Bo (he’s usually in the vehicle) and talks non-stop. She’s barely awake in the morning when she’s out looking for Bo, who’s with me in the kitchen. She lies all over him, his bed and my carpets, leaving hardly an inch of her clothing without his hair. After a two-week stay this summer, I told her I would miss her. She said she would miss me, too, but MOSTLY Bo. She always tells him she loves him and what a good boy he is. When she holds HIS toy and tells him to Sit, he’s at attention.
Once when leaving in her father’s truck, she called out for me to tell Bo that she loves him. This from a little girl who wouldn’t give hugs or kisses. Just yesterday I received a willing, BIG hug goodbye. Maybe these things would have come about in time anyway, but Bo made it happen NOW. Many of us believe the Good Lord provides whatever we need…..and it’s my belief that’s why I have Mr. Bo.
I rescued Toby from a very abusive situation (tied outside for 3 years to a dog house, then condemned to death for biting a child). I immediately got him enrolled in the first obedience class I could...His problem at that time was uncontrollable barking and lunging, which seemed to get worse as the class progressed...I next enrolled him in agility...and that was a disaster... He barked and lunged at all the other dogs. Toby doesn't like men and is terrorized by machinery: vacuum cleaners, lawn mowers, snow blowers, snow plows (I live in the Adirondack Mountains, where snowplows are very common), log trucks, bicycles, ATVs, snowmobiles, pick-up trucks. When he hears/sees one of these, he becomes psycho-dog—barking and lunging and practically strangling himself on his leash...Did I mention he also pulls continuously on the leash? And when he gets onto a scent, I might as well not exist...
I have spent hundreds of dollars on books and advice...and I am at my wit's end! I really want to be able to take my dog into towns without apologizing for his relentless barking and pulling. I really want to be able to take him on hikes...without worrying that he will run off and not come back, bite someone else coming up the trail, or have to have him continuously tied to me with a 30 foot leash! I am desperate. He is (potentially) a great dog who has had a lot of hard knocks, and I feel I am failing him. Please help me!!!
(One week after beginning Dialogue, self-trained)
...He doesn't drag me down the street any more, AND last night I jogged a little bit...and for the first time, he jogged WITH me -- he didn't dash ahead at full tilt!!! That was very exciting (for me, anyway). And here is another bit of new behavior good news: along our route, depending which direction we head, there lives a large, very friendly Samoyed named Sammy. Sammy loves attention and loves to play, and she is always trying to initiate play with Toby, who normally will have nothing to do with her—completely ignores her. Well, last night Toby actually responded to her initiation to play...And on our way back past her driveway (the road is a dead end, so we pass it twice), Toby initiated the play. He trotted on over, and HE started playing with HER! This time I let go of the leash and they played and played! And when he headed out into the street, I called to him. He stopped, darted back toward me, and started playing with Sammy again! This must be a sign that he is relaxing and feeling more confident (Sammy is about twice his size). Another happy moment for me.
Ellen, New York
I re-watched the DVD “Initiating Dialogue: The Foundation” yesterday (my youngest male dog really likes when I watch my dog training movies). The videos showing ordinary people learning are really helpful, especially where you show the common mistakes (such as turning the wrong way) and how to avoid them. I have started the 180's with two of the dogs. Rusty, my Catahoula foster dog and Reilly, my 18-month-old mixed breed pup.
Rusty is by far the dog with the most issues, including aggression. He is most anxious and very reactive. I have to say that I am impressed how well my first Dialogue® sessions went. Both Rusty and Reilly are habitual pullers. Rusty did extremely well; I could not fool him. Even if I thought he wasn't paying attention to me, I discovered he was listening to my voice and quickly figured out when I turned around. I praised constantly, and his tail was happily up as he followed along beside me. And I allowed him to sniff and mark within his bubble. Rusty is a dog who pulls like a train so I am very excited about this.
Reilly, my most confident dog, also learned to follow me very quickly…he made very few mistakes and was quick to catch up when I did my 180's. A fun story: Reilly is a serious poop eater. Tonight I was taking him outside and I knew there was a "job" out there that I'd missed, so I put his leash on his flat collar to take him out, as I normally do if I suspect the yard might not be "pristine." I didn't use the chain collar, and I gave no indication that we were going to practice since we weren't. We didn't even go into the "practice section" of my yard. But when we went outside, he was SO attentive to me. Tail down a bit and still unsure, but he kept watching me, trying to anticipate where we were going to go! And he didn't pull at all! On a flat collar! WOW... I sure didn't expect that after only a couple of sessions of 180's practice. Of course I praised him like mad.
I will DEFINITELY be recommending Dialogue® to the lucky people who adopt my fosters (Rusty and Bandit).
Angela, Ontario, Canada
Thank you so much for your thoughtful email. I am processing much and already beginning to understand the “new paradigm,” as you say. But I also feel overwhelmed and worried, which is probably how we always feel when we're starting in a new direction. I am very grateful to be able to ask you questions, which I've never been able to do before! (I usually avoid talking about dog problems as I get tired of people telling me about The Dog Whisperer on TV.) ….
There have been times I've just wished that I could know that I've never once scolded my animals; but as it is, I am very grateful that dogs are so incredibly forgiving and ready at any time to alter their behavior. One of my mentors, Brenda Ueland (1891-1985), said, "I have always thought that there is nothing in the world as bad as scolding....Scolding means there is a temporary spiritual state of dislike, of hateful repudiation." Having both scolded and been scolded myself, I wholeheartedly agree with her. Perhaps one day I will be able to have a relationship with a dog that I've never scolded. What a wonderful knowledge that would be!
We are still on our first read of the book--just finished the training section yesterday. When we finish reading, we'll start back at the beginning and start watching the video. Then we practice together (David, my husband, will be my "dog"), and then finally I will get to begin with the dogs. I want to feel sure of everything, so I can be confident and consistent and know what to do in a given situation. Your ideas have been illuminating, feel sound and resonate as true. It is definitely on a deeper level than other training methods, surpassing instincts and dog pack dynamics, etc. I feel I have a window into dog psychology now, both with our dogs and others I observe. I can understand their behavior….
I need to remind myself always: to love my dogs…on the basis of the perfection I know to exist, not on the evidence of personality. You and I both know that it is love that creates an environment in which any creature can be transformed….What I think I love most about Dialogue, is that it will allow me to develop and express that love toward my dogs that I know I possess. Perhaps the most powerful thing to me about Dialogue is that it gives dog-owners a chance at redemption, not just their dogs…thank goodness that the lessons we are teaching our dogs, about their worthiness for unconditional love, also apply to ourselves. Thank you for bringing this to the dog-human community!!! You are very special!
I think I really am beginning to see the world in a more expansive way, thanks to your philosophy. I am embarrassed by how human-centric my perception has been, despite my life-long passion for animals! I am understanding now how animal behavior is not "bad" from their point of view, and this really does help alleviate the annoyance and even anger the bad behavior causes. I am suddenly extending this understanding to our cats-- realizing that clawing the couch or jumping on the table makes perfect sense to a cat, and our exasperation must just be confusing them!...I think my vision of being a non-scolding, ever-patient animal owner is increasingly more within reach.
I am more convinced than ever that you and your work are a treasure. I find myself longing to share this information with all dog/animal people….I am convinced that we have found the one true method for harmonious dog-human relationships.
From the day that I adopted my German Shepherd Heidi, I had planned to make sure she was trained in a way that did not hurt my relationship with her. Before finding Dialogue, I put a lot of time and effort into researching four other canine training methods. By the time Heidi was nine weeks old, I had taught her how to perform the "basic obedience exercises." Yet this did not give Heidi or me the skills needed when we were attacked by two dogs while walking on the mineral belt trail in Leadville. Although Heidi knew "basic obedience exercises," none of those training methods gave us practical techniques that we could use in a traumatic and emergent situation such as we experienced. After Heidi and I were attacked by the two dogs, we were both equally anxious and afraid of being attacked again by other dogs. I did not know what to do. I reread all of my training resources; yet not one of them provided the guidance or techniques that I needed!
Then I called you, Judy. After speaking with you, I knew that you had my puppy’s best interests at heart because you have a genuine concern for all dogs. Through much research, I have found your method to be the most compassionate and practical. Dialogue is more complete than any other training method that I have researched. Dialogue deals fully with the issues involving dogs in all situations. Learning Dialogue has been a blessing for Heidi and me. Outstandingly, it has helped Heidi and me develop our confidence. Dialogue has also prepared us to be able to function calmly in potentially dangerous situations.
Dialogue is much, much more than just "dog obedience." Judy, you have the skills and expertise to help dogs and their owners through all situations in life. Heidi and I continue to practice daily and attend the weekly Group Sessions. Dialogue has become our way of life, and my relationship with Heidi has, moreover, been further solidified with Dialogue.
(The next year)
I have to tell you that I continue to be amazed and very proud of my little Heidi Sunflower! A few days ago, we were all enjoying some sunshine on the deck. A bunny rabbit appeared as usual in the driveway. Heidi gets the most excited when she sees this bunny rabbit. She usually starts bouncing around as if she was also a bunny rabbit. But this time she stayed on a Down-Stay and calmly admired the bunny rabbit from a distance for about 15 minutes! Then, I released her from her Down-Stay and maintained her attention with her frisbees until I saw the bunny rabbit bounce away. Heidi was having so much fun with me that she didn't even notice the bunny rabbit's exit. I just thanked my lucky stars at that moment that Heidi and I were so blessed to have been able to learn Dialogue from you!
(And the next)
Heidi and I have been jogging together. She is just the perfect jogging partner! She trots at a consistant pace with me, never pulling or tugging on the leash. I never have to worry about her jolting after a bunny or any deer that we see along our jogging outing!...Even when we have to jog down hill, she slows her speed on her own for me! At home now, even when there is a deer outside and Heidi is looking out the window, she will whine and then—on her own—she will go and get a toy and sit by the window with the toy in her mouth, just looking at the deer and wagging her tail!
I met Lucy at the animal shelter on July 4, 2000. She was 4 1/2 months old. She and her mother had been picked up as strays. She was so timid that I couldn't even take her for a walk out the front door. I picked her up and carried her over to a grassy area, and put her down. All she did was lay on the grass and shiver. When I started back to the building, she ran ahead of me. I was not able to take her home until July 11. I decided I would let Lucy become familiar with her new surroundings before working with her on basic obedience commands. Many years ago, I had two other dogs that I had taken to "traditional" obedience classes. I "knew" what to do to train Lucy, so on July 19th I started her first lesson. That was a disaster. She was still very timid, and all she would do was jump up at my back. If I corrected that with a jerk at the collar, she would lay down. I decided, after 5 minutes of this, that I needed some help.
I called Judy Moore. Lucy and I had our training session with Judy on July 24 and 25. What a difference those 2 days have made!! First of all, Judy's training methods gave Lucy great confidence in herself. Before the training sessions, Lucy would go outside and stay only as long as I was outside with her. As soon as I came in, she wanted in. The evening of the 25th, she was in and out all evening long - by herself!! In only one week after our training sessions with Judy, Lucy has learned to sit/stay (for up to 1 minute - I haven't made her stay any longer than that) even with a big buck (deer) running past, heel, down/stay, stand, and come. I think that this is just amazing! It took several weeks in the more "traditional" classes for my dogs to learn all of these commands. I also like the fact that you are not always jerking on the dog's neck. Many, many thanks Judy.
My name is Terra, and I am 11 years old. I live in Littleton, Colorado. We have a year old Great Pyrenees/Labrador mix named Xena. She is a wonderful dog full of playfulness and fun, but has been even more wonderful since we started using your Dialogue program.
We got Xena in the summer of 2000,as a new addition to our family, and company for all of us. We have always wanted to have well-behaved dogs, so right away we began looking for a good training program. None of the programs, however, were successful. We could not communicate properly with Xena through any of them,and literally could barely take her for walks because she would drag us down the street. I felt terrible that I could not reach a deeper understanding of Xena's behavior and communicate with her in the right way. Then when I saw your video and read your book that you had given Xena and Zeke, they gave me hope. I immediately read all of your chapters on the basic commands of Heel, Sit, Stay, Down, and Come, and was already feeling like this program might be a success. I felt even better when I read the many success stories of the dogs in your book, and I knew that I had to try the program.
The next day I started Xena on the heel command by taking her on a walk around our neighborhood. Right away I sensed a change in her behavior. She did not plunge on ahead and ignore every command, but was attentive and stayed by my side hanging on to every word I said and hardly ever stepped out of my rhythm. When she did, I did the 180's and she quickly rejoined me. It was a perfect walk without a single problem.
I have continued the program, and Xena is now a different dog. I have watched a dog that could not hold a sit-stay for more than seven seconds, become a dog that can hold a sit-stay for up to seven minutes. I have watched a dog that I could not take for a walk because she would drag me down the street, become a dog that heels by my side and that a five-year-old can walk. I have watched a dog who plunged on ahead, made her own decisions, and would not listen to a word you said, become a dog that is attentive and always listens. Most importantly, all of us have reached a much deeper understanding of Xena's behavior and know what her needs are. Thank you so much for putting this program into our lives and teaching us that there are other ways to communicate with your dog.
Tonight I decided to take Xena for a quick walk around the neighborhood. We had just finished doing the basic Dialogue commands in the backyard, but even so she was feeling restless, so as I said before, I decided that a walk around the Greenbelt would be nice. Just as I walk out the door, Xena goes wild. I look around to see what the problem is, and then I realize " Oh Great," because Missy (neighbor's cat) is right at the edge of her owner's driveway. Then I remember the tips you taught me, so I quickly lead her to the edge of our driveway, put her in a sit-stay position, and begin talking to her in a calm soothing voice, using praise-in-anticipation. Magically Xena calmed down the minute I began talking to her, just gazing quietly at Missy. I loosened the grip on the leash, still using praise-in-anticipation, and she still stayed there, just staring at Missy. At one time she got up, but immediately sat back down after I repositioned her. Then after about eight minutes, I released her, and she trotted after me, meek as a lamb, without a glance back.
Judy, you are an absolute wonder. These tips were terrific, and it is so wonderful to see how Xena has changed. I know that she will become even better with cats as the time goes by, and I just have to thank you. So thank you Judy, SO MUCH!!!!!!!!!
We adopted Tracey from our local animal shelter. It was love at first sight. The day I brought her home, I knew there was something different about her, so I took her to the veterinarian just to be sure. He confirmed my suspicion that Tracey was deaf. I talked to a lot of different professionals - dog trainers, etc. - who all said that deaf dogs don't make good pets and Tracey should probably be put to sleep. Not to mention she is a pit bull. Then I found Judy Moore. With WR-DOS, Tracey understands what she needs to do by hand signals. She's the best pet we could ask for.
Kachina was a canine in danger. Her mother was described by the breeder as “shy and a little snappy,” and the thought was that Kachina would be similar. We realized the puppy was scared—of us, of the cat, of everything. By adulthood, Kachina would strike like a rattlesnake. But the underlying problem was lack of confidence. Affection and attention didn't help. She attacked a neighbor child with no provocation. She dove at our own kids. She lunged at visitors who reached toward her in greeting.
My wife spotted a newspaper advertisement that said something about saving dogs through training. Within a week we were in Judy Moore's barn with Judy showing Kachina Dialogue® her unique training method. At the end of a half-hour, they were fast friends. After I learned how to work with Kachina, I dutifully fulfilled my practice obligation. We take advantage of Judy's Tuesday night open group practice sessions as often as we can. Kachina knows when Tuesday arrives. I ask if she wants to go ”to class,” and she runs to her leash and collar, sits, and waits for me to put them on. She ignores distractions in the house and front yard and goes with me—off leash—to the car, where she politely waits for permission to enter.
After two years, Kachina is a different dog. Judy and I hardly remember the charging, snarling, vicious animal that entered her barn in 1996. As Kachina has gained confidence that the world isn't out to get her, she has become a more playful, loving, trustworthy dog.
We thought that having a companion would be good for Eva.... As soon as Grace came to the house, Eva turned and looked at my husband, smiled, looked at me, smiled, and started licking Grace's face. From that day, she became Grace's protector. We would walk with both Grace and Eva. Eva would bark at anyone who passed by. From growling, it went into snapping. So far Eva has snapped at three people, but I am concerned that this can escalate. Recently, she snapped at a friend who was visiting me and that is when I decided to look for other training options. I have to say that we have gone to several trainings and trainers. Several trainers did not know what to do since Eva is not food motivated....
I want to share this with you! I am so excited! I have started doing practices of Dialogue® with Eva and Grace individually 3 times per day (no more than 15 minutes). I started on Saturday. On Monday we went to visit my dear friend that lives in Carmel and went for a long walk….I had Eva on the collar that you recommend, and she did not bark at all in response to Grace's barking at other people!! This is an impressive change from before where she would try to launch as soon as she heard Grace. My friend was also very surprised by this change.
The other beautiful thing is that it is the first time that I see that Grace is excited to have a collar on (she hated the gentle leader and would try to run or hide whenever I tried to put it on). After two days of practice with your training, she comes towards this collar, wags her tail and even tries to put her head inside it! Eva loves it, too. She immediately puts her head in. The other day, while I was working at the computer, Eva sat in front of the collar and turned and looked at me and started making sounds that usually indicate to me that she wants something. Well, she wanted another walk! Grace and Eva are sitting now as soon as they hear the word "Sit," so we have started with Heel. Grace's barking has started to decrease. I think she has now realized that the only thing she needs to focus on paying attention to is me!
And now a story--I take Grace to work with me. We were at work, and it was late. Only the maintenance people and Grace and I were in the building. At some point, a maintenance person passed by with a huge bag of garbage, and Grace ran toward him barking….I ran after her, and out of my own impulse, I called her name and then asked her to Sit (I am realizing that the practice is also for me to have these automatic responses). Immediately, as if by magic, she stopped in the middle of the barking and running and sat down. I followed up with a Stay, and she did that calmly in front of the man with the huge bag. The maintenance person was impressed! He said I should make a video of this because it was amazing and looked like magic! He continued to walk calmly, and Grace just waited for my next direction!
(Some weeks later)
I am very happy that I got your DVD's. I have watched the one on saving the "bad dog." My husband has also started with the training. Your training has really brought such a turnaround in our lives!! The four of us are so grateful! I have continued practicing with Eva and Grace (separately), doing the training 3 times per day, 15 minutes each time. I am so happy to report that I took Eva to an open mall for the first time in a long time. When we got there, she had her tail between her legs and was making herself little. She wanted to go back to the car. I continued with Dialogue, and as soon as she realized it was Dialogue that we were going to be doing (what we had been practicing at home), her tail started to go up, and she smiled and walked confidently! It was so cute!! She did not bark once and sat every time I asked her. Some of the people who were walking by commented that they wished their dog was as trained as mine! I talked with several people, and she stayed sitting all the time!!
As for Grace, I took her today to the open mall and did a practice off leash!! (This is after having gone to the mall several times and practicing on leash.) She did so great! She followed me, did Heel, Sit, Sit- stay and Come! She seemed to enjoy it so much (and I loved it)!! It was great to have this interaction with her. A lovely woman at the mall commented that she had enjoyed seeing me train her and seeing how wonderfully she responds to the words and body posture without need of treats. I told her about you!!
I am owned by a Benjamin. A Benjamin is a 5-year-old Golden Labrador. I got Ben a month ago from a shelter. He had been there 6 months. They were not able to re-home him as he has special physical needs....He chose me. I had no say in the matter. He is a perfect dog: travels well; walks on and off the lead are pleasant enough; socializes with our dogs; is great around my horse, and the three of us have fantastic outrides together. The dullness has left his eyes. He has a gleam in his coat and a twinkle in his eye—and he has stolen my heart.
(After a couple of weeks, Ben had an experience that suddenly escalated his anxiety and affected his behavior.)
Now Ben has become anxious and obsessed with my 2 very spoilt cats. His anxiety levels are just about doubling each night. He is as good as gold during the day, but when the family sits down in front of the TV he doesn’t stop wining and pacing around the furniture. The cats are now getting used to him, so allow him to come really close, and this has led to him being even more obsessive about them. He has shown no real aggression towards them. He just wants to get under their skin...Every few minutes there is hissing and furniture goes flying. The only time there is peace in the home is when Ben is sent to bed early. My husband is keen to have Ben outside all of the time (it is possible in South Africa as our weather is very mild), but I want him to be a fully integrated part of the family.
Although we are very new at Dialogue, I have seen some changes in Ben AKA “Squeaky toy Benjamin Hempel.” We have had him 6 weeks now from the shelter. He started off as good as gold, but two weeks in he got a severe case of separation anxiety… .I couldn’t move in the house without him crying himself hoarse at the windows.... He is now much quieter and has got his voice box back....The cats are still an issue, but once we get the STAY exercise entrenched, we will start working on it. Thank you again for your help and encouragement. I finally feel that anybody can learn to have Dialogue with their dog. Three dogs in my area are starting to do Dialogue. My aunt specifically went out and got a shelter dog as she now is confident that she can overcome any “issues” he may come with.
(Some weeks later)
Things are going great. We no longer have to mail you with everything we don't get right... we are starting to do some problem solving ourselves. After a month of doing Dialogue, I was finally brave enough to start socialising Ben with other dogs....Ben is a firm favourite with all the dogs and their owners and has picked up the nickname "Big Ben". We have had so many little triumphs. He Sit-Stays beautifully for every dog that goes by, and as a result, many of them stop to chat, which he is thrilled with. Even the little dogs are getting over his size. He can now play off-lead with the bigger dogs....My once aggressive friend is now full of confidence and even allows bigger dogs to approach. And he has lots of patience with the puppies and allows them to chew on most of his body parts. The most memorable encounter was with the same small dog whom he attacked six weeks ago. The little dog flew across the road at Ben, barking and nipping at him. Ben did not move out of the Sit-Stay I had put him on. His tail was even wagging. The owner of the little dog came over and commented on how good Ben was. If she only knew what he got up to last time they met!
(Some years later)
I have just got back from 6 months of maternity leave, and I just want to let you know how wonderful our Benjamin is. He has really thrived with me being home so much, so me going back to work is a shock to everyone’s system. I originally had some concerns about the new baby, walking with both pram and dog and his fear of toddlers….I should have known that Dialogue would cover it all. Ben has a new love in his life--Logan (our baby boy), and as a result, the pram. If anyone goes near the pram, he thinks it is walk time. His bubble is now a slightly odd shape with baby in the centre, but he has taken it in his stride. When I say “come” and am not standing next to the pram, he returns to the pram instead of to me! He is incredibly gentle with Logan and has taken a keen interest now that Logan has started on solids. Thank goodness he learned the “leave” command to stop him scavenging for bones on walks. It is just as handy with teething biscuits!
Our “mad lab” who wanted to eat our cats now allows the very elderly female to lie across his belly, and she sleeps in his kennel with him on cold days. Our male Siamese still has jealous turf wars with Ben, but there is no blood involved!
Our house has been overrun with toddlers. I had a real fear about this because originally if anyone would raise their arms around Ben, he would snap. That, too, has changed. I make sure that the children are gentle with him, and he is now a big tub of love. They tickle and cuddle him, and he has trained them to kick a ball for him.
The last major change is how gentle he has become with other male dogs…. He has quite a few dog friends that I can now allow him to “play rough” with without me worrying about him becoming aggressive. He is very long-suffering with the playful young dogs and shares toys, chew hooves and even food.
Once again, Judy, thank you for Dialogue. Our Benjamin is a happy, well-adjusted dog who now loves life.
Julie, Port Elizabeth, South Africa
My 10-year-old Australian Shepherd Josey has had fear issues since the day we brought her home from the breeder at eight weeks. We trained and trained, and she got worse and worse. Just last year I tried agility training with her, thinking she would enjoy the “work.” She was a basket case, and the trainers didn’t like her. After repeating the intro class four times, she was finally comfortable enough with the equipment and procedures to go forward, but the next level of instruction was again so stressful for her that I decided not to take her back. At home she wanted to please us, but was terrified of our every move. She attacked me when I was leaving the house. She attacked my husband when he touched me. She would growl and snap at strangers. Several years ago she viciously attacked my neighbor who entered the yard to borrow a hose. I resorted to putting her in the bathroom when anyone came over just to avoid the hassle. But she barked and whined the entire time anyone was in the house. She slept on the floor next to our bed at night and would growl and snap at my husband when he came to bed...If I would get up in the middle of the night she'd do the same to me when I came back to bed. I talked to my vet about it, and he could only suggest medications. I think the thing that challenged my husband and me the most with Josey was that she never showed any positive response to our encouraging and kindness when she was afraid. So we resorted to finding immediate ways to stop the aggression before it resulted in a bite to us or someone else. But after finding your web site and reading your December newsletter and the stories from owners who had learned Dialogue...I found hope that there was still a way to reach her through praise rather than confinement and correction.
As soon as possible, Josey and I flew from our Florida home to Colorado to learn Dialogue®. As I write this, we’ve been home three days, and I can hardly believe what I’m seeing in Josey. I have to pinch myself to be sure it’s real. Our first test was at the Denver airport Monday night. She had to go from the ticketing area to the baggage area where they inspected her crate. They suggested I walk her on leash through the airport. That meant walking past all those moving targets and next to the porter who had our bags and her crate. I said, “Let’s go for a walk!" and she walked along in her bubble, with me giving her constant praise and doing a few 180’s. She was just the perfect dog, walking so calmly by all those crowds and staying so perfectly in her bubble. The baggage area was very small and crowded with people (another potential problem). She stayed in her bubble and never once showed any signs of aggression. As a matter of fact, her tail was wagging the whole time, and she wasn’t panting. She was actually enjoying this!
Next morning, we had five electricians at the house working in various rooms, coming and going, things that would have sent her over the top before Dialogue®. Today, instead of wrestling her into the bathroom and shutting the door and having her barking sharply at every noise all day, I let her stay in my office as I worked, where she could see all the coming and going of the electricians at a relatively safe distance from them. With an occasional “You're ok, you're ok” from me, she was the perfectly calm companion all day with not a bark at anyone.
Her relationship with our three Border Collie puppies has greatly improved. Before Dialogue® she wanted nothing to do with them and snarled and snapped at them when they approached. Now she sits calmly while they may be rollicking around her and crashing into her. She glances my way, and I give her great praise and reassurance, and she accepts that. Judy, are you sure you didn’t switch dogs on me while I was there? I can’t believe I have the same dog!
Tonight I came home from a meeting, and my husband was working in his office on the computer. Normally if I would so much as call his name, Josey would start barking loudly, stopping all conversation. If I approached him, or he me, she would jump and try to separate us and bark and bark. Not tonight. She sat calmly on the floor, so I gave her a couple of reassuring comments and patted her side, and she in turn allowed us to have a conversation like two normal human beings and never once jumped up or even acted like she wanted to.
What I see in Josey is so exciting I can’t stop telling everyone. Of course, my family is amazed and grateful. Now my goal is to keep reading and studying so I can work confidently with her because she loves the exercises. Right now, I’m going slowly because I want to be sure I’m doing it right. But she really wants this and is probably wondering why I’m such a slow learner.
I am so grateful for all your tireless coaching while we were learning Dialogue® exercises. You really drilled us on being precise, and now I see why it’s so important to remain absolutely consistent so that Josey feels no anxiety. But the rewards are so huge! With just a bit of extra time and patience on my part to be sure I’m doing it RIGHT, Josey is enjoying her life for the first time in 10 years! I can give her no greater gift than to stay true to the course that you set us on.
(A month or so later)
I really like Josey now, more than I ever did. We seem to connect in all ways at such a different level. She trusts me to take care of her now. And now I want to take care of her, whereas before I just wanted her to behave. Now I understand her fears and work quickly to remove them or to help her deal with them from a safe place. I feel such an incredible sense of appreciation that we found you and Dialogue. Josey is just a different dog and a remarkable pet now!
The puppies are in her face often, and Aussies hate having their space intruded. I’m so surprised she is so tolerant of them now. She never has a cross word for them anymore. She just turns her head and sometimes, but not always, walks away. I usually get a glance with an expression I read as , “Oh, how long will they be puppies?” We have actually caught her playing with toys (never did before) and once or twice playing with the other dogs. I can just feel her sense of relief now that she is a happy girl. Her tail wags often!
(Before Dialogue®, Sunny and Sascha were resented by their neighbors for threatening behavior)
We thought the clinic was terrific and really enjoyed the hard work. Seems like it was a special class since we felt such support there for Sunny and Sascha. The difference between the atmosphere in the clinic and here at our condo was absolutely astounding. We especially liked working with you because you modeled all the techniques and are so certain the end results will be successful. And we also liked hearing the inspiration behind the program. Of course we know you love the dogs so much….
We are diligently practicing with Sunny and Sascha. We have cut down on the number of distractions by changing our evening route so Sunny (and we) can get the technique down and her confidence up….Sascha is quite happy with her routine and doing well and improving….Both dogs were amazingly calm when we saw a squirrel the other day compared to the usual going-ballistic response. We had them sit and watch for a bit and then we began walking again. That was new for sure!
Jeanne and Deborah, California
(Three letters came over a 5-month period from a self-training owner)
I purchased your book and DVD last December. We now have a 4 month-old Flat Coat named Ruru. I am trying the attention-getting exercises, but he much more enjoys grabbing the leash in his mouth and playing tug-a-war with it. He also seldom runs ahead, but rather lags behind me. Any hints on how to get him to move along and not pull on his leash with his mouth? Heeling is nearly impossible. He just wants to stand there or lie down. I'm constantly praising him and slapping my leg and even tugging a bit on the leash, but he just doesn't want to run along--unless he's chasing something or someone.
(Judy recommended the DVD “Initiating Dialogue: The Foundation”)
“Initiating Dialogue®: The Foundation” is very helpful. It was good to see how "uncooperative-at-first" dogs were handled. Ruru is doing very well on the leash now! He does still try to bite or play tug with the leash, but that doesn't last long. I will continue to work with the methods shown in the DVD. We are currently working on Sit and Sit-Stay, and soon to learn Down.
Since watching the DVD “HEEL With Dialogue®” in January, I’ve been practicing with him every weekday. I've been able to have him Heel beside me without a leash for perhaps as much as 100 yards…His heeling and walking in his "bubble" are far better than that of any dog I've ever owned.
I take him on daily walks in the park near my house. We see plenty of other dog walkers there, and it's always a treat for Ruru when he gets to greet the other dogs. Every day many people comment on what a well behaved dog he is! They are especially impressed to hear he is only 9 months old. It didn't take more than a week or two at most of working with Ruru at the park for him to be able to do Sit-Stays while other dogs or joggers passed by… Ever since, he has been consistently putting himself in a sitting position when he gets within 25 feet or so from another dog walking towards him. I'll give him the Stay command, and most times (unless there's another energetic puppy approaching) he'll remain sitting even when the other dog(s) approach him and start sniffing him. Only after I get the other dog owners' permission for the dogs to socialize, do I release him and reward him with praise-in- response and some time to play with the other dogs. When play time is over (in a minute or two), I have him sit. Then I say "let’s go," and he usually trots right along with me with no protests.
I tell everyone who comments on his training and behavior about helpyourdog.com. This has been the best training program I've tried. I love the no-punishment philosophy, and friendship, not alpha-dog, relationship, and the self-confidence building for both dog and owner.
(Elsa’s owners were told by their vet that they could never have children as long as they had “vicious” Elsa)
Today we had the dreaded yearly vet visit. Dreaded because, as I told you when I was first checking into Dialogue, Elsa is at her worst at the vet. Well, I am amazed and proud to say that Elsa made it through the vet visit without lunging to bite the vet or even growling!!! She was definitely nervous and unhappy to be there, but she has never in all her life had a vet visit without showing at least a little aggression. Kelly (my husband) went in with her and did so great. I was so happy that I wanted to just cry and hug Elsa when I heard how well she behaved. I know she has much farther to go, but this was a huge step in the right direction.
(The next year)
Just a quick note to let you know we had our yearly vet visit with the dogs, and it went very well again. Two years ago (about 9 months before training with you) Elsa had a particularly hard visit with growling, attempting to bite the vet (she had a muzzle on), and losing control of both her bladder and her bowels. This time, Elsa did not growl, try to bite, or lose control even with having a shot, blood drawn, and her paws inspected between the toes. We still had the nose ribbon (fabric muzzle) on, of course.
When Kelly was at the vet visit and was in with our other dog, Timber, he mentioned that we had been doing training with the dogs. Kelly then practiced with Timber at the end of the visit to show the vet what Timber could do. The vet watched for awhile and was impressed. He asked Kelly for your name!! Kelly told him, and then the vet asked him to call the office with your contact information. So we did just that, including your web address and name of your book! Good news, huh? Maybe they will see how much Dialogue works and refer some people. Thanks again for helping us find a way to help our dogs be the best they can be. And thank you most of all for helping me believe that our precious Elsa IS a good dog and that we can make progress with her (and Timber, too).
The biggest accomplishment for her this summer was a change in her attitude toward visitors. We only had a few chances to experiment with this (with people we knew would feel comfortable enduring her barking at them). Well, we had a couple over for dinner, and after we ate, we decided it was time for them to meet the dogs. We had Timber meet them first, and then Elsa came up. She walked by them, sniffed the air and them, and that was about it. She never barked, and she let them pet her within a few minutes. We still could not believe it. I thought for sure she would start barking when they got up from the table and she saw that they were people she did not know. Nope, she was fine. We even went outside with our guests and played Frisbee with the dogs. I also had a friend over whom Elsa had not seen in about a year or so. When we let Elsa up from the basement, she didn't bark at her either. She was a little jumpy and hesitant to be petted immediately, so our friend just ignored her, let Elsa sniff her, and soon Elsa was begging for pets and wanted to give kisses to our friend. We are VERY pleased with this development. We know we will always need to be careful with how she meets people (as with Timber or any dog)—to make sure the person does not try to get close too quickly, but it was such a joy to have her trust us to tell her that these people were okay and she was still safe.
I know that the way of thinking about our dogs that you taught us has helped Elsa to be more secure, confident, and relaxed. My husband has commented on how much more loving she is now. It's true—and I have noticed how when she is being petted she seems happier and less tense than she used to seem.
Thank you so much for teaching us how to relate to Elsa and help her with her fear. Thank you, thank you!!!
(Three years later)
The first month after we brought our baby boy home was hard with Elsa. You may remember me calling you and crying. She didn't try to bite or hurt him but she was very nervous around him and wanted to sniff at, jump up on, and nose him constantly. The trick seemed to be putting the nose ribbon on her when she was around him. That seemed to calm her down and she learned how to relax around him. After a few weeks of that she was fine. This, of course, in conjunction with Dialogue.
Elsa is really wonderful with my son. (Timber is too.) Of course, we are still careful and have been busy teaching him how to pet dogs gently, not to pull ears or tails or fur, etc. Basic respect for dogs. He is almost 18 months old. He just loves dogs, has gotten to be around lots of them, and is doing great with gently petting them! He notices dogs any time he hears a bark in the neighborhood or sees one, and sticks out his tongue and pants (his sign for "dog") to let us know what he hears or sees. Obviously, he has had good experiences with our dogs.
Anyway, the other night he started to pet Elsa while she was chewing on a nylabone and she did not react at all. (We are also trying to teach him to not go near dogs with food or bones since many dogs have issues with that.) Then, before I could stop him he suddenly threw his arms around Elsa's head and sort of screeched in glee. This is while Elsa was chewing on her nylabone. What did she do....? She licked his face. She didn't seem shaken by it at all. I am so proud of her. She has a ways to go with the stranger issue but she is doing great with our family. She is a beautiful and loving dog.
Augie first came into our lives about a year ago. My wife Melissa and I went to the local animal shelter looking for a dog to adopt. When we found the one we wanted, the people at the shelter asked us to also take his kennel mate (a Jack Russell Terrier). They claimed that the two dogs were bonded and they needed to stay together. I was happy with the situation because I have always wanted a Jack Russell Terrier, and this was a justifiable reason to get one. Melissa was not as sure as I was, but she really wanted the other dog which was a Blue Heeler. So we decided (after very little thought) to go ahead and get them both. We had no idea the ride we were about to take!
Augie has a very loving personality that won us over from the beginning, but his flip side is that he was extremely aggressive with other animals. This came to our immediate attention when we brought him home and introduced him to our cats. We spent the first several months keeping them permanently separated, so that he wouldn't attack them. Also, even though he only weighs about 18 pounds, he would attack a Great Dane if he had the chance! This made him very difficult to live with, as I was always nervous about him being a liability. To take a walk, first we put on his muzzle(or Hannibal mask as we call it!), and then as we walk we tell everybody his name is "Augsoma Bin Doggie" The Jack Russell Terrorist, and his breed comes from the Alcanine group! We were very torn over what to do about him. On the one hand we loved him very much, and his personality added much joy to our lives. On the other hand he frustrated us, and we knew we just could not trust him with our other pets and other animals in general. So we decided to give him Dialogue and attended Judy's January Denver clinic.
Judy has been an incredible blessing to us for many reasons. I am especially grateful to her for the amount of time she has spent with us, answering all of our questions. Before we even began training, she must have spent hours just writing me e-mails, encouraging us. She helped us to understand that Augie was not mean, but rather he was extremely afraid of animals and many things. When I watched her working with Augie, I was amazed at just how effective she is.
Augie has made an incredible amount of progress in a only a couple of months. I can take him on a walk, and he still may bark at the other dogs, but he stays right by my side with his attention on my guidance the whole time! And with the cats? They are living comfortably together now, like there never was a problem! In fact the other day I accidentally put him in his kennel when the cat was in there. I left him in there for about 3 ½ hours while we weren't home. When we came home and I let him out, the cat came out also! You can imagine my surprise. Only a couple of months earlier that would have been a disaster. I am now looking forward to the coming summer months when we can spend time in the park and go on hikes, and we'll not have to worry about Augie being fearful and aggressive. And I'm looking forward to even more progress with the training that Judy has given us. It has truly made a difference in our lives!
(9 months later)
The other day my wife Melissa went into the bedroom to take an afternoon nap, and from across the house she screamed, " MATT, COME HERE QUICK!" So I ran to the bedroom, thinking something was extremely wrong. When I reached the bedroom door, I could see inside, and Augie was lying next to Melissa on the bed. The amazing part was, our long-haired Himalayan cat was lying on top of him, just like it was something normal. I could not believe how patient he was, like nothing was wrong! So I ran for my camera, and I actually got a picture of it!
Your ideas have been illuminating, feel sound and resonate as true. It is definitely on a deeper level than other training methods, surpassing instincts and dog pack dynamics, etc. I feel I have a window into dog psychology now, both with our dogs and others I observe. I can understand their behavior…. My husband and I have scoured dog breed books…trying to find the "perfect" dog for us—e.g., one with no behavior problems attached to it. Now we know that that doesn't really matter.
Click here to read about their self-training journey.