Volunteering at an animal shelter (Animal Rescue Foundation in Beacon, NY) inevitably led us to having four canine family members, 3 of which came from the shelter. Fortunately, Lisa was the dog trainer that worked with the volunteers every other Thursday, and she helped us tremendously in helping our dogs adjust to their new home.
We have taken a few of her training classes with a couple of our dogs, and the classes were both informative and fun. We have been able to address problem behaviors from excessive barking to fear and aggression issues. We also learned so much about what we are communicating to our dogs without even knowing it. This self-awareness has proven very helpful in learning how to communicate what we want from them.
One of our dogs, Coffee (a 7 year old Cocker Spaniel), was especially challenging. He had been at the shelter for almost 3 years, after having been adopted once and brought back, when we decided to bring him into our family. He had aggression and guarding issues, and had bitten several people. Dogs like Coffee never adjust well to shelter life, no matter how much attention and love they are given, they deteriorate in the stressful environment. He was considered unadoptable and the volunteers at the shelter tried to give him all they could.
We wanted to give him a chance for a life where he could be happy and thrive, so we took him home. With three other dogs this was going to be difficult. He had to be kept separate from the other dogs, so we installed dog gates throughout the house. It was not certain whether he would ever be able to truly be part of the pack. With Lisa’s help and suggestions, Coffee thrived better than we ever could have hoped. We took it slowly and little by little he began adjusting to his new home and life. With training, supervision, and patience the dogs began to bond and play together. Several months later, we can’t imagine our family without Coffee. He eats, sleeps, plays and lounges with the other dogs. Watching him play like a puppy gives us so much pleasure, as he truly seems to be happy. We can’t thank Lisa enough for her guidance in helping us give him a chance at a better life.
Tanya & David