Kathy and Ivy

Here is our success story about one of our dogs, Ivy. We adopted her from a local rescue organization over a year ago. She came to us as the sweetest little puppy that loved us, our close friends and family and of course of first dog, Thunder. The first week or so we had her we never noticed any real fear, we would have friends over, go on walks, all the things you should do to socialize a pup. Then slowly we started noticing her shy away from new people and new situations, she didn’t want to have much to do with outside world. She loved her people and her doggy friends and that was that!

I enrolled her in Puppy Classes ASAP at dogma. I figured that would do the trick, but she was still shy and never really came out of her shell. It broke our hearts to see her take being a dog so serious and not letting loose and playing with the other puppies. She would just look at me with these big worried eyes waiting to go home. I really thought I messed up somewhere with her. Where did I go wrong? My first dog was so easy…

When Ivy was about 8 months I noticed dogma was holding a Facing Fear class. It was exactly what we needed! Our first class was great and one thing that stuck out is when Megan said simply that some dogs are just more sensitive than others, they have phobias just like us humans. From that class on I felt better and better with raising a fearful dog. We learned techniques to calm our dogs and ourselves and slowly introduce them back into our society. I learned so much with those classes I started gaining the confidence I needed to handle situations that come with having a fearful pup. I have to add, they were a lot of fun too!

So now, Ivy being 16 months, she is a different dog. It only takes minutes for her to warm up to a new person in the house. We go on walks and she almost never panics if someone walks by us, or a garge door opens. Even huge buses zoom by us and she won’t even flinch. She still has her moments but they are few and far between and I know how to handle them.

There is something to be said about having a fearful dog. They are truly faithful to their people and I believe if she could, would do anything for me. I love seeing her get her confidence and she surprises me all the time. Her big thing now is meeting other dogs. I am comfortable taking her to a quiet dog park and she will meet just about every dog there, sometimes even do a play bow or chase! So great to see her act like a puppy finally!

I can see why some humans wouldn’t want to deal with a fearful dog as they require a tremendous amount of patience and understanding. I’m telling you it is so worth it in the end. Ivy is the first one there if I need cheering up or when I’m sick, or even when I just need a break from it all she will sleep on her bed, with one eye on me just to make sure I’m okay. The fear classes at dogma were my answer. I learned about my dog and how to handle her, I learned patience and gained confidence in myself which has spilled over in my day to day life. I can’t wait to see how far she has come a year from now, I will keep you posted!

Note from Megan: Kathy and James have been so dedicated to Ivy and Thunder. They are always looking to learn more about dogs and are always looking for more ways to work with and interact appropriately with them. Their commitment to their dogs’ well-being is inspiring. Thunder and Ivy are lucky dogs to have been adopted by such wonderful people!

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