Brinkley's Long Weekend

brinkley-tmb.jpg

Jessica,

Last night we were reminded that without a doubt, we needed to thank you for the training you have brought to Brinkley and us.

While Brinkley remains a very good dog she probably will never pull a human on a skateboard. However, she will ALWAYS come on a run when she’s called. Yup, keeping her safe and us not frustrated!

But last night took the cake. We are planning a long weekend in Bar Harbor in mid-September. We used PetHotels.com to book our room so Brinkley could go with us. All was well until after we had paid and were printing our confirmation–the motel we had chosen had a “no pet” policy. Under special notes we had written “First floor requested”, and that we were “traveling with a crate-trained English Springer Spaniel (Canine Good Citizen Certified)”.

We quickly called them, and they confirmed that pets were not allowed. They were very nice and referred us to another motel that accepted dogs. I ended the call stating that we wold have to cancel our reservation online.

Moments later, they called us back and asked if our dog was a service dog. We said, “no, but she was a therapy dog in training”. The clerk checked with the manager and we KEPT the RESERVATION. Who would have thought that our confidence in Brinkley’s training would allow us to get a motel room!

Thank you for helping us enjoy our dog even more!
Grant, Michele & Brinkley

Chef's Winning Recipe

chef-colage.jpg

Meet Chef, a striking white Austrian Cattle Dog. His new life with adopted parents Barbara and Nancy, along with their two dogs, turned out to be more challenging than anyone anticipated. "Cheffie’s" pot soon after arrival quickly boiled over with the anxiety of a new family and he very nearly faced the real possibility of having to “pack his knives and go”. However, this is a story of improvement and ultimately redemption and we are happy to report that there is now a pleasant aroma wafting from Chef’s kitchen these days. My Dogs Mind caught up with Barbara to find out their secret recipe.

How did Chef come into your life?
About 4 years ago we were ready to bring another dog into our home after the passing of one of our three dogs. Nancy met Chef while volunteering at the SPCA. We knew he was deaf, had some socialization issues and was not trained but we wanted to give it a try.

Things did not go so smoothly at first. Can you explain the challenges and obstacles that almost ended the relationship?
After the adoption, Chef soon began viciously barking at every car, person and bike that we encountered on our walks at the beach. We immediately started working with Terence at My Dogs Mind on socialization and exposure exercises to help Chef deal with his fear-based reactivity. He was showing improvement, until one day, without warning, Chef attacked one of our other dogs while we were out on a walk. We started to question whether this relationship was going to work and if Chef might do better as an only dog. We decided to foster him and work through the SPCA to find him a more suitable permanent family and home.

What changed your mind about keeping Chef in your family?
We were looking for the best home for him and his special needs and after a while we realized ours was the best for him.

That was four years ago and Chef is doing great. What’s your secret?
We continued to work closely with Terence and the staff at My Dogs Mind. Chef got right back into socialization with other dogs he encountered both in class and out on the beach. Terence showed us how to turn Chef’s attention away from a car or bike by switching direction and positively rewarding him for being calm, quiet and focused on us. Terence asked us to safely but repeatedly “Do something that scares you every day.” On our beach walks, Chef now rises to the challenge by looking up at us, almost as if to say, “I’m being good. Can I have a treat?” instead of reacting in his previous negative behavior. He is now able to safely walk with our other dogs outside the house.

Terence explains that Chef is getting more comfortable with things that are in “his pictures.” He understands the beach, Day School, and walking with other dogs. It is when the "picture" changes, that problems occur. We still need to keep Chef separate from the other dogs at home but we are continually working on adding more positive “pictures” to Chef’s comfort zone.

We go to the My Dogs Mind drop-in class every Sunday and he attends Day School three days-a-week. The staff there knows who he gets along with and in that way, positive socialization experiences allow him to make great progress.

Working with a deaf dog must present some unique challenges. Can you explain how you communicate?
You know it’s really not an issue. We taught him hand signals from the very beginning, all the basics. As he continued training with Terence and learned new things, We'd have to come up with new signals. We have hand signals for pretty much everything including “stand” in his obedience training. On a positive note, he sleeps like a rock, oblivious to outside noises or knocks on the door.

Congratulations on obtaining your Canine Good Citizen (CGC) certification!
Thank you. We went to Jess’s Saturday morning CGC class. He loves Jess from Day School, so the class was just perfect for him to feel comfortable. We had our reservations about some of the exercises, such as being out of the room with a stranger for five minutes, but he did it and he was fine. He passed everything. Jess did a great job working with us to prepare.

What is Chef's favorite thing to do?
He loves the tug toy, going for car rides and walking along the ocean. He is a cattle dog, so he likes having something to do all the time. He loves going to My Dogs Mind because he knows he gets to play with other dogs.

Thanks Barbara for sharing Chef’s story with us. Everyone here loves Chef and commends both you and Nancy and for the hard-work, dedication and progress you continue to show.
Thank you. It’s a remarkable success story and we are nuts about him.

The Cats Are Back In Charge

We rescued Cinda from Tennessee in October of 2011. As soon as we brought her into our house we realized we had a problem– she had a very strong prey drive and we have three cats. We thought we could fix it with our experience from raising our other dog, Apollo. We watched training videos, read books, tried every single thing we could think of to "rid Cinda of this problem". I spent many a night in tears worried that we'd made a horrible mistake adopting her.

We consulted with a few trainers, all of whom told us to send Cinda back right away (after they told us horror stories of dogs killing cats). They wouldn't even evaluate her and told me we were wasting our time, after telling us how selfish we were being and how bad they felt for our cats.

Right before Christmas, I called the rescue and said I needed to send her back. During that phone call, it became clear that sending her back wasn't going to be easy, logistically or emotionally. So we got into a new frame of mind and started asking our good dog friends if they knew a good trainer.

Then by nothing short of a miracle we found Terence through some friends who were working with him.

cinda2.jpg

The cats feel more secure around Cinda and stand their ground.

Terence returned my call immediately after hearing the desperation of our situation. We talked through the options and he gave us hope. He even offered to come to us in Massachusetts if that's what it came down to.

My husband Jeff and I brought Cinda to the MDM training center at the first chance. Terence evaluated Cinda, and us, and spent a lot of time telling us what we were dealing with– high prey drive. He made it very clear that her having high prey drive didn't mean our cats were goners. And believe me, I asked him several times every session and he just kept reassuring me. I was a nervous wreck those first few sessions and Terence knew it. He did everything he could to make me comfortable with the process and to help build my confidence. During one session Terence brought his young daughter out to help, maybe so I could see exactly how easy this could be if I could trust myself and Cinda. He had his assistants work with her while we watched as a way to show us first. This was the perfect way for us to learn.

Before we started working with Terence we had little hope. Our hearts were broken because we adopted Cinda, but might not be able to train her. Would it really work?

Terence gave us the tools session after session and time after time he proved to us that Cinda and our cats were going to be able to stay with us in our home. He never gave us false hope but instead gave us a realistic picture of the future.

Would Cinda ever stay home, while we were at work, without being in a crate? Maybe not, but would Cinda and the cats be able to exist together in our home at all times while we were present? Very much so.

It's been a little over a year since we had training with Terence. Cinda is still here and she is thriving. We've removed one of the two baby gates, put the E-collar away and have control over Cinda. Our cats are happy and have taken back their place in our house. In fact, through what we learned we've been able to show our cats that Cinda will not hurt them. They now stand their ground with her and she falls into line. When Cinda shows us that she's incredibly interested in what they are doing we pay close attention and give her a command that she follows. Most often though we are going about our business and no longer worry that something will go terribly wrong. That is something we never thought possible!

Terence made Cinda's life here with us possible. He started with the basics and got us to the point of giving Cinda a command from across the room, house, yard or field and she listens. We now know what motivates her and we are positive of what we're dealing with. We know what it means when her fur sticks up, we know what it means when she moves her body in certain ways, we know what a wiggle or a lick, even a yawn means. Thanks to Terence and his assistants we understand Cinda.

We will never forget what Terence has done for Cinda and us. He changed our minds about Cinda and guided our hearts through the process of understanding and loving this rescue dog! We will be forever grateful to My Dogs Mind!!

-Beth and Jeff Judd

Ruby the Boxer

Terence,

Frederick and I can not tell you how much we appreciate your help in training us to work with Ruby. We took her to several places for training and help but you were the only one who had the knowledge and skill to evaluate her and work with us to address her issues.

Since we have been coming to My Dogs Mind, Ruby is a much happier, calmer dog and we as her owners are finally able to enjoy being with her.
Thank you so much!

Frederick, Barbara and Ruby the Boxer

Little Miss Jo

misjo_thumb.jpg

Dear Terence,
I don't know if you will remember me or not but back in 2000 I adopted a young blue merle American Cattle Dog named Jo through you. (You were associated with Bull Run Dog Rescue at the time) We met at the Baxter School for the Deaf on Mackworth Island just off Portland, Me. We lost little Miss Jo the end of September after twelve terrific years. I was cleaning the basement this week and came across all the dog records you had given me for Jo so many years ago. I am sorry to say that I could not remember your last name and have long since lost your e-mail address otherwise I would have written to let you know of Jo's passing. So on finding those papers I did a "goggle" search and there you were.

I just want you to know Jo was a great addition to my life and you made a wonderful match with the two of us. I remember when I adopted her you mentioning that you were afraid I might not be happy with her since she was on the "smaller" end of the ACD's. Small maybe but with a huge heart! ...and a joy to the end.

miss_jo_ss2.jpg

The house was so empty with Jo gone that I looked up Bull Run once again to find it had morphed into ACDRA and I found a litter of July pups that were half cattle dog. My husband and I adopted two of the pups, Stanley and Floyd, and we picked them up at Baxter School for the Deaf on Mackworth Island. Just like Miss Jo their first long walk with us was the mile trail around the island. ...quite the feat since neither one was use to walking on a leash!! The boys are so very good and a joy like Miss Jo. Stanley looks more cattle-doggie (and often does the same things Jo would do) but Floyd has more velcro to him. ...but only in the house!

Anyhow, thank you for my first ACD, who obviously made a huge impression on both myself and my husband.

Sincerely,

Pamela Rackliffe Capurso

PS. When I adopted Jo you gave her a stuffed, fleece, dogbone shaped toy, which we still have, minus the stuffing (I restuffed it many, many times) and now the boys play with it. ...minus the stuffing!