From our wonderful trainer, Beverli, who had her third session with Wounded Warrior, William, and his Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog/Beagle mix, “Justiz”. William suffers from PTSD and anxiety.
Little is known about the Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog – and since I, Laurie, have one straight from Louisiana (when we ere stationed at Barksdale AFB), I’d like to take a moment to talk about this amazing breed.
The Catahoula Cur is an American dog breed named after Catahoula Parish, in the state of Louisiana, in the United States. After becoming the state dog of Louisiana in 1979, its name was officially changed to Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog. The breed is sometimes referred to as the “Catahoula Hound” or “Catahoula Leopard Hound”, although it is not a true hound, but a cur. It is also called the “Catahoula Hog Dog”, reflecting its traditional use in hunting wild boar. As a working dog, Catahoulas have been bred primarily for temperament and ability rather than for appearance. As a result, the physical characteristics of the Catahoula are somewhat varied.
Catahoulas are highly intelligent and energetic. They are assertive but not aggressive by nature. Catahoulas in general are very even-tempered. Males tend to be more stubborn than females, but Catahoulas are very serious about their job if they are working dogs. They make a good family dog, but will not tolerate being isolated, so interaction with the dog is a daily requirement. When a Catahoula is raised with children, the dog believes that it is his or her responsibility to look after and protect those children. Many owners will say that the Catahoula owns them and they can be insistent when it’s time to eat or do other activities. Catahoulas are protective and a natural alarm dog. They will alert one to anything out of the ordinary.
This tough yet strikingly beautiful dog can have a spotted, brindle, solid, or patched coat of many colors. Other outstanding physical characteristics are his webbed feet, which allow him to swim well and work in soft, marshy areas, and his eyes, which may be blue, green, brown, or amber. Some Catahoulas have eyes that are each a different color or “cracked” eyes: two different colors within the same eye.
Befitting their heritage as herding and driving dogs, Catahoulas are wary of strangers. They’re protective of their families and opinionated about who is and isn’t trustworthy. People who live with them say they’re excellent judges of character.
Expect to provide this hard-working and independent dog with at least an hour of strenuous exercise daily as well as firm guidance during training. When their exercise and leadership needs are met, Catahoulas are loving, calm, and dedicated companions.
Well, we (Laurie and Joey) have a Catahoula, and she is the goofiest, most friendly and loving dog we could imagine. She is like a clown! She is extremely energetic, however, so training does need to be started early!
OK – onto the write-up! Sorry, Beverli! Beverli writes:
“This was our third training session, and we had it at PetSmart. Today, we worked on fine tuning Justiz’ heel, as well as trying to work on sit/stay. She did much better with “leave it” today!
Today, we allowed Justiz to “cover” when she felt she needed to for William’s sake, which she naturally does, and we talked about William’s anxiety and how to work through it step by step with desensitization and having William rely on Justiz to be there for him.
Justiz still needs work on her ‘stay’, but she seemed to stay much calmer with all the smells and sounds in Petsmart, and she ignored the parakeets MUCH better on this trip!
Homework given for the next session was working more on sit/stay ON leash. Justiz is so bonded to William, she still really wants to get up and follow him as soon as he moves away from her.
I must say – I’ve never seen a dog so eagerly, tirelessly and naturally work for her handler. Justiz is SO in tune with William’s feelings and energy. She makes me realize and appreciate a dog’s abilities even more than I have before.”
What a beautiful sentiment, Beverli. Thank you.