Big Rosie moved in with us in 2013 at the age of 8. She was an owner surrender through a local rescue and is our permanent foster dog until the end of her life.
I had never met such a sweet girl with such a chaotic mind. She was so anxious that a plastic bag on the street freaked her out. She growled at people, lunged at dogs and her leash aggression was off the charts. I feel certain she was a backyard fence fighter.
Believe me when I say she exhausted me emotionally. In between all of this chaos, I rushed her to the ER with bloat and torsion. Emergency surgery was mandatory to save her life. We did, thankfully. Then she was diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. That's manageable. However, I was not reaching her emotionally and mentally.
I hadn't found the correct tool to reach her mind. I promise you I tried every tool and technique known to man, worked with my veterinarians (herbs and acupuncture) and even hired another trainer to evaluate my leash handling skills. I was certain I was missing something or doing something wrong. I WASN'T. I was determined to balance her mind if it was the last thing I did.
I had one final idea before succumbing to Prozac. E collar training. It was the only thing I hadn't tried. I studied long and hard and watched every video I could find on this style of training and connecting with a dog
After my e collar hands-on training, my trainer was evaluating my leash handling skills. Rosie went absolutely nuts at his dog. None of my leash corrections worked but my timing was spot on.
I tried a low level stimulation on the e collar. Out of 100 levels, her working level is 15. We walked by the dog again, I corrected her thought, tapped her once and said "No". I SWEAR to you this dog looked up at me as if to say "Oh, all you want is for me to walk by and be calm"? It was *that* simple. She and I made a few more passes by the trainer and his dog without so much as an acknowledgment. She wasn't sad. She wasn't shut down. She was in the moment and following her leader!
I've never had to tap the button again on a leashed walk! Rosie is still alive and, while unable to walk very far, does so with a balanced mind.
** Big Rosie lived until the ripe old age of 10-1/2. Godspeed, sweet baby. xo