Maisie first came to us when her owner was looking for a new dog daycare. At the time, Maisie was already a super happy and friendly dog, and like every Aussie, super intense and ball-crazy.
But we had a bumpy start. Maisie’s herding instincts would get the best of her, and her behavior towards other dogs was borderline aggressive. Daycare playtime would turn into a power struggle, and it wasn’t much fun.
I sat down with Kathy and we talked about doing some training with Maisie. Turns out our Aussie lady was giving her owner a hard time, too, barking and lunging at other dogs and people while on walks, not listening and just thinking that she was in charge of everything. Kathy would get super nervous and fearful of what Maisie was going to do every time they were out in public.
The formula for disaster is when you have a dog that took charge of the household by use of bratty behavior, and an owner who has been so embarrassed and frustrated by that behavior, that he or she has lost confidence in his or her ability to stop it and take control of their dog.
It was time to turn the tables.
After only a few sessions with me, it was obvious that Maisie was getting the message. By laying down clear rules and expectations for Maisie, I helped her understand what is ok to do (and pays off big time!) and what is not accepted. Gradually we saw Maisie learn to trust her owner more and I saw Kathy become more confident and take her leadership position back. And that is when the magic happens.
This is what Kathy wrote to me when we finished the first half of our sessions:
“My Australian Shepherd Maisie and I are in training with Lauren and we both are learning a lot! Lauren reinforced some of the basics with Maisie and taught her some new behaviors during her “Polite Pooch” training program. Maisie and I are now working together with Lauren one on one. I am learning how to provide consistent commands and corrections so Maisie will continue to be successful. Lauren is thoughtful and calm, and gives useful exercises and feedback. Maisie responds wonderfully to her. I am very pleased with our progress and look forward to our next lesson!”
It’s been about two years since Maisie came to me for training. Thanks to all the hard work and dedication her owner put into training her, Maisie continues to be a happy, relaxed and fun dog that can go anywhere without causing trouble. And the best part is that we still get to see her every week, as her owner signed up for our weekly dog-walking service. It is really a delight to know that I have played a small part in getting Maisie to be calmer and happier, and that her owner Kathy continues to reinforce everything they’ve learned during our training sessions. I always look forward to my weekly walks with Maisie – she is an awesome dog!