I rescued a dog that was described as timid and shy but neither the foster nor I realized that she was much more than that. She was a shutdown, terrified pup who was not eating, playing or allowing touch and she walked hunched over with her tail tucked against her belly and she really only related to me for protection. She was particularly afraid of men and dogs. My first call with Michael was reassuring as I quickly realized he was committed to a kind, positive training approach. I did not want to be “the alpha dog” and use training that was might over love.
I had planned two trips and it was obvious my original care plan for her was not going to work. It was an emergency as I was unable to postpone this travel. I knew I was not equipped to manage this on my own and that is why I contacted Michael. I knew Shadow would not make it at my son’s house with his two rambunctious dogs and I needed help getting her to work with my previous pet sitter.
Michael has been incredibly responsive and answers all my questions quickly and completely. He has recommended many resources that complement his training. He was frank about the need to consider medication to help Shadow enjoy life a little more and put me in touch with Dr. Haug. Shadow is especially difficult because she is not food motivated at all. Typical “safe space” solutions make her more upset. We’ve had to be inventive with her and he has been with us along the way.
He continues to remind me about patience and baby steps and he is right. He, Dr. Haug, Dr. Pulido, Amber the groomer and my dog sitter are very important members of Team Brave Shadow.
This has not been easy and we have a long way to go but Shadow is a different girl. She can take some nice walks around the block, she is learning to play again, she is at her proper weight, she will take the chicken from anyone who will give it to her and she seeks my attention for affection, not just protection. I still count on Michael to help us move forward. Like many things in life, my vision of having a dog companion in retirement isn’t quite what happened. But, like other things in life, it has been worth the work and I am grateful for the support.