From our Austin trainer Maddie, who had her second session with Paul and his SDIT, American Staffordshire Terrier Mix, “Jill”. Paul has had epilepsy that started when he was 21. He had no prior history of seizures. He continues to have seizures despite changing medicines and upping the dosages. Consequently, he’s always worried that he will have a seizure and has developed anxiety, PTSD, and depression. He has no physical limitations other than not driving due to epilepsy.
“Today was my first meeting with Paul at his home after he adopted Jill 2 weeks ago, giving them time to bond. It went wonderfully! Jill can already “sit”, “down”, “stay”, “load and unload out of a vehicle in a controlled manner”, “heels” well slightly behind Paul and never pulls, doesn’t have a prey drive or any desire to pull Paul to meet strange dogs, she “waits” and follows Paul through doors, loves kids and adults, and was perfectly fine when I had her leash as well. That is well over half the Public Access Test! However, we have to work on her “coming” when called. Paul and I think she has a history of abuse before being rescued… this is because she loves to give kisses and snuggle, but if you stand up and walk toward her or call her while standing she does not want to come. However, if you are sitting on the floor, she comes perfectly. We think that the standing person (being so much bigger than her) makes her scared. She also is frightened by loud, unexpected noises, but recovers quickly. We spent the whole session figuring out what her comfort zone was in relation to coming when called.
The only things to work on for the PAT are: “coming” when called, “leaving” food that is dropped, and continuing to “heel” when Paul drops the leash.
I noticed immediately that Jill seemed much less skittish than when she was first adopted from the shelter, and was very comfortable in her new home. Paul also took Jill to meet his family and their dogs. He said at the first meeting, she was overwhelmed and a bit intimidated by his parents’ Great Dane. But after getting to spend time together, they have become great friends! Jill has decided the Dane’s orthopedic bed is her own! And they love to play together in the yard. On top of this, last week Jill accompanied Paul to his office out of the house, and she was a gem the whole trip. Great job Jillybean!”
Paul’s homework is to work hard on having Jill “come” when called. He will start by calling her while sitting on the floor, then his knees, then sitting on the couch, then standing. Hopefully, with this slow change, she will begin to see she can trust him not to hurt her. She loves to snuggle with him so I know she loves her knew dad, she is just too nervous because of past experiences.”