After being in the dog-eat-dog environment of corporate life for more years than we would like to admit, Bruce and I decided to jump the fence and look for a new pack. Our luckiest day was when we began dog training.
Bruce had been a top technology executive for major corporations and I was completely engulfed in the sales life of selling travel incentives to Fortune 500 companies. One day we just woke up with the epiphany that we wanted to have careers that made us feel good about ourselves and helped others… and that’s why we began dog training.
We have five dogs and they have all come from a “rescue event.” In July of 2004, Hurricane Charlie came roaring through the Florida Keys and many of the animals in the area were sent to the Broward County Humane Society. We adopted Milhous, a headstrong alpha-male German Shepard/Wolf with major dog obedience issues. After extensive training Milhous is a well adjusted and happy dog.
The following year, Hurricane Katrina slammed into The Gulf Coast. Little did we know that our next dog was on his way from the devastation of Louisiana to our local Humane Society. We brought Nickie, our English Springer Spaniel, into our pack. With all that he had been through, he had his own set of dog behavior issues. Guess what? The dog training methods we had used with Milhous worked again!
This brings us to our third dog, a little five-pound Miniature Schnauzer. His name is Buster, and he originally came from a puppy mill in the Midwest. He had many puppy training issues and his owner was about to send him to the county pound after having him for only three weeks. (The county pound euthanized dogs.) Needless to say, we took him in as another loved member of our pack. Buster was afraid of humans, would not go outside, and only stayed in his crate. Once again our training system came through for us. Buster is now a lovable little dog, basically running the roost of our four dogs.
Some time passed and one of my friends was given a puppy toy poodle for her 75th birthday by her grandchildren. The big problem was that the puppy would constantly be getting under her feet and she was afraid that either she was going to step on and squish the cute, little puppy, or she was going to trip and break her hip. She knew she couldn’t keep her, so she asked if I could find a home for her. She was a white, little fur-ball full of love and energy and I brought her home. That’s as far as she got. Tricia became the fourth member of our canine pack. Tricia was great, except that she was not socialized and would just drive our older, boy dogs crazy. We employed socialization methods and focused behavior with her and our other dogs to allow everyone the understand each others’ rules. Things got back to normal very quickly and everyone is now fine.
About three years passed until Bruce came to me about a friend who had just rescued a Belgian Malinois from the Everglades Rescue Group. Bruce’s friend initially had every intention of caring for the dog, but his job had just informed him that they were relocating him to New York. Mollie (that is her name) is a great dog, but he just couldn’t take care of her once he moved to New York. Bruce and I both love Shepards, so we decided to take her. We had never had a Malinois and assumed that they were about the same energy level as standard Shepards. We were wrong. Mollie is a great dog, but has more energy than any dog we have ever encountered. Because of this, she can intimidate other dogs and can loose focus quickly if she gets distracted. We are working on maintaining her focus, providing her a “working job”, and understanding obedience. It is still a “work in progress” and some days are better than others. Whatever the case, we love her and she is quickly becoming accepted as the fifth member of our canine family.