Client Success: Lady’s Transformation from Terrified to Teacher’s Pet

Lady is a rescue from Texas.

We picked her up from the back of a pickup truck in Niagara Falls, straight shot from Texas. The rescue didn’t even have foster homes, so she went straight to our house.

When we first got her, she was afraid of everything. The first time she heard a clicker, she was absolutely terrified. She was so afraid, she’d only pee once a day, and poop once every three days!

I’d helped rescue dogs in the past that were confident, but aggressive. This was the total opposite on the spectrum – I had no idea how to work with a dog that was afraid of her own shadow.

Working with Anita for the last year has been such an incredible experience for all of us. Originally, it was too much to even have Anita in our home, so we only worked outdoors.

We had worked with other Positive Reinforcement trainers, but they were way more rigid and rules based. Anita taught us about asking Lady for consent, that it’s Okay she can’t do things, and to be her advocate. To give her the freedom to smell, to sniff, to help her with her anxiety – so we always walk her on a very long leash.

Anita gave us a lot of permission to help Lady. The rescue said the dog must be in a crate overnight, and she’d sit awake in the crate and shake all night. Anita wasn’t hung up on rules of what you should and shouldn’t do, so she gave us permission to let Lady sleep at the foot of our bed, and she became much calmer in the home as a result.

She taught us how to read Lady’s body language, and to figure out what she needs, even before we started training. Working with you, it really feels highly personalized, unlike showing up to a Big Box store’s class where you’re just a number. Even at the group classes, you recognize the needs of each dog – even the way the rooms are structured, every dog has their own unique space and is working at their own level, not walking around the classroom in a circle.

Lady continues to surprise us every day. Last week, coming to class, Lady confidently waltzed in, tail wagging, to greet Anita. Anita was able to use her as a demo dog, and pulled out a special real-fur toy out, and dragged it around the floor – Lady was playfully pouncing on it!

What we’ve learned may seem obvious to you, but we really appreciate everything. There is something really special about your instructors and the whole experience.

From Lady’s guardians, Rhea and Mike

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