The dogs that get the most press are the aggressive ones. I must admit when we started this thing, I assumed most of our client base would be dogs that couldn’t be left with other services. What I hadn’t planned for, was the dogs who were just so scared, their people wouldn’t leave them with others. To be honest, we’ve had one of those too….. But my mind, like everyone else, just went to the gnarly dogs that we can help. But one of the fist dogs we got was a shy guy, not a tough guy. Very shy. As in, took like ten minutes to get him to even investigate me. Fortunately, his owner was one of my students….. So, we already have a very high level of trust. So she, with a tremendously deep breath, handed me the leash. This is her experience with her shy pups Canine Outward Bound Half Day.
“The trust work began way before the agility course. The first leap was to put Graf in the hands of two people he had never met before. You see, Graf is the opposite of a dog with aggression problems – he is shy. It’s not that he bites strangers, it’s that he just shuts down. When we meet new people on the street, Graf hides behind my legs. So letting Jay and Mandy work with him for a whole afternoon, with me on the other side of town, was trust work not just for my little boy but for me, too. But Jay has done wonders for my confidence as my self-defense trainer, and I have seen him work with his own dogs. So, I was willing to take a chance that Jay and Mandy could help little Graf come out of his safe place, too.
My trust was well placed. They sent text messages with photos of Graf’s progress. The first one showed my boy kissing Mandy – this from a dog who won’t even take treats from strangers. Before the day was over, Graf had done lead work side by side with a dog he had never met before, agility work on difficult obstacles, and found out that he liked treadmill running. Not only was he not hiding, he was having the time of his life.
I think what Graf really found out that day (and so did I) is that taking chances with new people can reveal his own inner strengths. He was not only learning to trust strange people and strange dogs, he was learning to trust himself. What a different puppy I picked up that evening!”