The Roller Coaster Ride Continues

February 5, 2014

We’re backsliding a little. I had an extra session with Mary to figure out how to get A.J. to stop pulling so much on the leash. She didn’t really have any suggestions I hadn’t tried, other than going back to doing circles again. I’ve started doing that, which eases the pulling for a time, but A.J. is getting more reactive again. Yesterday we went to the park and saw a dog as soon as we were out of the car. A.J. was doing okay until Continue reading “The Roller Coaster Ride Continues”

He’s Much Better, Really

January 17, 2014

This morning we went to the park again. Other than A.J. still pulling like crazy we had a good walk. We saw several dogs, and one even reacted to him, but he didn’t react back. So other than the pulling it wasn’t bad. Then we went straight from the park to the vet’s office so A.J. could get a vaccine. I was hoping he’d be kind of tired from the park, but it turns out I just brought him into the vet’s office totally amped up.

No one was in the waiting room when I brought him in. I didn’t realize how amped up he was until Continue reading “He’s Much Better, Really”

Great Improvements, But…

January 15, 2014

We had another freestyle class on Monday. Again, A.J. did great. No reaction to the other dogs, he stayed quiet in his crate, and he had great focus. He’s such a show-off. He’s really starting to get the idea on some of these tricks. And last night, for the first time, he did a “Roll over” when I told him, without me having to lead him through. He can be a smart little guy when he wants to be. Then there are other times… Continue reading “Great Improvements, But…”

A.J. Goes to Dance Class

January 7, 2014

This mail was sent today to everyone in our Reactive Dog class from Mary, our trainer:

“I wanted to share with you just what a star AJ was in the Canine Freestyle Class yesterday.  He came into a building with two moving dogs, was a little noisy but quickly settled down, got in his crate and was quiet.  When the dogs were working, AJ was perfectly focused on Jean and working.  I could not have been more pleased with the teamwork they displayed. No one would have guessed all the challenges they have worked thru.  I just wanted to share their success with all of you.  Congratulations Jean on the results of your great work with AJ!”

What this says it that my little monster is quite the show-off. Here’s how that day really went. Continue reading “A.J. Goes to Dance Class”

We Finally Turn a Corner

Note, July 17, 2015: As you’ll see in this journal entry, bringing a crazy dog into the family can be tough on everyone. Especially when a family member wasn’t exactly thrilled about the idea of bringing a dog home in the first place. But here’s a spoiler alert for things to come: today everyone loves A.J. We just needed to get through some growing pains.

December 18, 2013

The last two and a half weeks have been a roller coaster. Thanksgiving Day I was ready to give A.J. away. I felt like I was completely failing him, not getting through to him, and not connecting with him at all. I was miserable.

Before our Reactive Dog class on Sunday, December 1, Mary sent out an email about the weather. I replied to her, letting her know that we had a horrible week, and if A.J. acted up again I’d be leaving so we didn’t disrupt the class.

When we got to class, Continue reading “We Finally Turn a Corner”

The Lowest Point

Note: We’ve reached the ultimate low point in our journey. This journal entry is a tough one, but I’m sharing it because it’s part of the story. Like everything in life, adopting a pet can have plenty of ups and downs. We’re about to experience a big “down.” Ready or not, here it is:

November 27, 2013

A.J. could bite me and hurt me very badly. Today is the first day that thought has seriously entered my mind as a clear reality.

Note, July 17, 2015: As we’ll see as our journal entries progress, it’s unlikely A.J. ever would have bitten me. I was just frustrated at not being able to communicate with him. I also in the past had worked with rescue dogs and I had experienced dog bites from dogs who were as frustrated and in need of exercise as A.J. was around this time. With that said, on with the story… Continue reading “The Lowest Point”

My Jekyll and Hyde Dog

Note: This journal entry occurred shortly before my relationship with A.J. hit an all-time low. His leash aggression/reactive issues were making it impossible to walk him; that and our training regimen were making it very difficult to get this energetic young dog the exercise he needed. We were going through some serious growing pains at this point.

November 26, 2013

A.J. is just crazy.

We’ve been to three Reactive Dog classes now. The dogs spend most of their time in crates. Well, all the dogs except A.J. Most of the time I can’t get him in the crate. And whether he’s in the crate or not, he has a little tantrum. He cries and barks, and continues to get louder the longer I ignore him. Our trainer, Mary, has had me do various things to teach him to be quiet. I basically end up standing over him throwing hot dogs at him when he shuts up for a second. It’s not working.

This week we took each of the dogs out one by one and Continue reading “My Jekyll and Hyde Dog”

Still Lots of Issues

November 14, 2013

Since A.J. has had kennel cough and hasn’t been able to go to day camp we’ve been going to the park every day this week. We had quite the adventure yesterday. We got into the park and stopped. I had him sit, and I switched the leash from his harness to his collar. I stood up and said “Look at me.” A.J. looked right at me. I said “OK!” Next thing I know I’m skidding across the grass landing face-first, and A.J. is running free through the park. Continue reading “Still Lots of Issues”

A.J. is Sick Again

November 11, 2013

A.J. went back to the vet today. That makes five trips in the four and a half months since we adopted him. At least this time he doesn’t need antibiotics. Not yet anyway.

He went back to the groomer a week ago Friday. They said he did well, although I don’t think they trimmed his nails much. I made sure they didn’t overdo it with the trim like they did last time. I definitely don’t ever want them to shave his face again, I don’t get why they would do that. Tuesday he went to day camp, then he went back to day camp on Friday. Somewhere in there he caught kennel cough. Continue reading “A.J. is Sick Again”