Thursday, October 22, 2009
Today, Claudia and I were going to meet with Jenifer to do a 3-hour consultation at Claudia’s house. I arrived at Claudia’s at 3:45, and as I pulled up, my cell phone rang. I answered it and it was Jenifer. She told me she had been busy all day “breaking Noah from jumping the fence”. She said he started jumping the fence the day before, so she had stayed home all day and worked with him, trying to break him of it. I asked her if this meant she wasn’t coming out to meet with us, and she replied, “Yeah, I want you and Claudia to come here instead.”
I met Claudia at her front door and told her that Jenifer had called and said she wanted us to go to her house instead.. Her response was, “Here, I cleaned all day because I was expecting her.” I said, “Yeah, I know. I would have done the same thing.” I explained to her what Jenifer had said about Noah jumping the fence and that she had stayed home all day, trying to break him of it. We were both concerned that he was now jumping fences as this posed a serious problem. We then got ready and headed to Jenifer’s house.
We got to Jenifer’s and she walked us to the back patio. Noah was in his kennel, and we, of course, didn’t pay him any attention right away (as Jenifer had previously instructed us not to). She explained that she had been hiding in different places in the yard during the day and waiting for Noah to jump the fence. Each time he tried to jump, she would stand up and avert his attention to make him stop. She did say that this is a serious problem as once a dog starts jumping fences, it’s hard to make them stop, especially a dog with Noah’s background. I asked her if he could actually be stopped from jumping for sure, and she said maybe, maybe not. It was hard to say.
Jenifer then took us in the house and showed us some video footage of her working with Noah. She brought up a clip on her computer and it showed her actually putting a choke chain on Noah. During her first two attempts, when she tried to put the choke chain over Noah’s head, he immediately turned his head away so she couldn’t, but by the third attempt, she was able to just slide the chain over his head. The footage then showed her leading him out of his kennel. However, it was obvious that Noah had never been on a leash before as he simply walked a step or two and stood there, looking around like he didn't know what to do. Jenifer had to coax and encourage him to move forward. Noah would take a few steps and then stop. He then would just stand in one spot and look around. Each time, Jenifer gently coaxed him forward and she gradually got him out to her grassy training area. I was so encouraged by the footage I was seeing as he had come so far in a short amount of time. It literally brought tears to my eyes to see his progress. It also reinforced that fact that this dog wasn’t “vicious and aggressive” as the Shelter vet had determined him to be.
After we watched the footage, Jenifer asked us if we wanted to work with Noah and take him out to the training area. We said, “Of course.” We went out to the back patio and Jenifer put the leash on Noah and slowly lead him out to the training area. She still had to coax him somewhat but he was definitely getting the “gist” of it. She got him out to the training area and both Claudia and I took turns walking him around. It took continuous coaxing to get him to walk, but you could see he was improving steadily. In addition, we actually got tail wags and kisses from him, which was shocking as that was a first! He was definitely coming out of his shell, and it was a joy to see. He was like a different dog, and it was hard to believe he was the same dog we had seen at the Shelter. In fact, he was turning into quite a beauty as he has this jet-black coat that just shone in the sunshine and his markings are beautiful.
Yes, Noah was progressing. It was slow but day by day, he was moving forward and putting the past behind him.