After living in New York City, Vermont, North Carolina and traveling to random places around the world, I decided that I was missing something in my life and took a dive to adopt a dog. Around 8 months ago, I spent time with my partner looking at available dogs, and trying to figure out the type of dog that would best suit our lifestyle. We were looking for a Husky or Malamute mix to match our active lifestyle.
We visited a number of shelters in Los Angeles (Check out my post about LA Shelters here) , and ended up seeing some beautiful mixes of shephards and a little husky on the Westside German Shepherd Rescue Website. We gave the shelter a list of the dogs we wanted to meet – but most of the dogs were not available due to their aggressive’ness.
On a limb I asked to meet Brody, since I grew up with a Chow Chow and had 2 German Shepherds. This big boy trotted out with a smile on his large fluffy face and I fell in love with him, even though he was far from what I was looking for.
After deciding I was adopting Brody, my partner fell in love with a mixed husky named Honey. We were so excited we adopted both dogs in one day! Thinking I was a experienced owner with my background (having grown up with dogs and babysitting other friends dogs) I thought it would be a breeze but I had a lot to learn.
We brought both dogs home and I came to find out that Brody was highly suspicious of strangers and did not like people getting too close to him. Honey was 1 years old and was not house trained and kept trying to pee in the house. Brody had a incident and the realization that I adopted a aggressive dog hit me. We had to make a decision and brought back both dogs… It felt like my first dog China the Chow chow died all over again. I couldn’t deal with it and under the insurance of the rescue did a trial period and later re-adopted him. We bought a prong collar and trained at the westside shelter every group session on Sunday mornings and followed the training techniques of their affiliate trainers. I wanted to fix him, he was so sweetto me that I felt like he could change.
Two months later another incident happened under the supervision of a dog trainer based in Long Beach who was irresponsible and did not have aggressive dog training. Animal Control took him away and quarantined him for 10 days. Long Beach has a no tolerance policy for aggressive dogs – and they are usually put down. I received testimonials of every person who knew the type of training I was doing with him and that we were responsible owners. Animal Control gave us one more chance with the condition that he would be muzzled in public at all times.
Its been 8 months since I adopt him…The shelter I adopted him from said he was 2 years old, but my vet believes he is over 4 years old. He still has anxiety attacks from hearing chains hitting metal (something we are working on still) and still freaks out when he see’s brooms (something we believe he was abused with as a young puppy) but he is a different dog now.
After different types of trainers some who said “he has no hope of changing” and positive training techniques we have seen a huge difference in his demeanor. He is not scared of people, he can go on walks in public places, he loves having people over at our house, he loves going to the dog park and is curious about meeting people in a positive way. Sure he still is changing, but this 4 year old dog has shown that it’s possible to take an aggressive dog labeled as a dangerous breed, and with consistent training create change.
With the right training you CAN teach a old dog new tricks.
We continue to train him, muzzle him for the safety of himself and others, and look for new ways to grow him into the perfect dog.