It’s a dog’s life

Blessing: training my dog on behavioral topics

I’ve mentioned it before… we have the best dog – Apache. He’s sweet, loving, a little attention-needy. He truly is the best! Except… he’s horrible on a leash. Always pulling. Zig zagging from side to side. And don’t even get me started on when he sees another dog. It’s actually kind of the cutest thing… but still annoying. When Apache sees another dog coming, he lays flat to the ground. I can’t get him back up. But I can get him to military crawl forward a little bit. But never close enough until we reach the dog. Apache always waits, just laying on the ground. Then when the dog gets close, Apache springs up and launches himself at them. He loves all dogs and just wants to sniff them and play.

Conversely, he recently seems to react to people’s fear, especially when those people are coming into our home. Apache’s hackles go up and he starts barking. Sometimes he’ll eventually calm down but still exhibit signs of nervousness. Other times, he incessantly barks. We later learned that these are signs of Apache “guarding” our home or even us.

Apache curled up on our bed, looking cute as always.

So with having a baby on the way, I decided it was time to get some professional help for us and Apache. We reached out to Apache’s foster mom, who also happens to be a positive-reinforcement dog trainer and specialist. Erin has been so informative and helpful and we’ve come so far in the few weeks we’ve been training with her. But I have to tell you… I really struggled when we first started discussing Apache’s training. I love my dog. I love his personality. He truly is a beacon of light for me everyday. He makes me laugh, feel loved and I really enjoy his company. So I was really afraid that training would change him, make him lose his playfulness and goofiness.

And then it hit me! I need to go through this now with my dog to help prep me for our baby. I can only imagine that I would have the same emotional and mental struggle when discussing how to discipline our child. So I’m incredibly thankful and feel blessed that I get to go through this now.

While our training is nowhere near “complete,” I can say that we still have the same amazing Apache… he just happens to be better mannered. And for that I’m truly blessed!

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