Congratulation to our GTA GRK9 of the Month
I've had Atlas since April 2019, he was 9.5 months old. He came from a breeder who no longer wanted to keep him to use for breeding purposes. I consider him a "rescue" as he was in awful condition when I got him, he had spent the majority of his life in a crate with little exercise or time spent with people. He was very underweight, scared of his own shadow, untrained and had looked like he'd been groomed with a weed whacker. He had been so matted that some patches were shaved right down to the skin. I did what training I knew to do with him for the basics while we adjusted to life in the country with relatively no exposure with other dogs. Overtime Atlas's confidence grew...perhaps a bit too much! I moved into town, after 2 years in the country, where there were suddenly all kinds of new sounds, movement and dogs. Once Atlas became confident in his new environment his reactivity towards other dogs started to become a problem and I didn't have all the tools to work with that myself. A trainer from another facility had recommended Grassroots K9 and here we are! Not even a full month and the progress that's been made is remarkable.
1. 9.5 months
2. a breeder (a bad one!)
3. I wanted a large dog with hair (due to allergies) and had a giant schnauzer previously. I wanted a dog similar to a GS and decided on a Bouvier, but fawn colour, so it wouldn't look too similar to my GS. I had visited this breeder on a friend's recommendation and had met Atlas at about 4-5 months old. When the breeder decided she didn't want him anymore she emailed me and asked if I wanted him. I jumped on that to get him out of there.
4. I needed help with dog reactivity and over excitement and he tends to get distracted VERY easily by anything that moves. Walks were becoming unenjoyable and problematic, training was becoming frustrating for me which certainly doesn't benefit Atlas at all!!
5. Training goals:
-- to train me to do what Altas needs :)
-- to be able to walk by another dog without Altas reacting, for me not to worry about coming across another dog while on a walk.
-- to help him not get so over excited --> gets wound up pretty quick and cannot seem to unwind himself.
-- better listening outside, less distracted by things that move (shadows, reflections, anything!)
6. Biggest obstacle to overcome....getting Atlas to not escalate so quickly and pass that threshold where he can't self-regulate, coupled with my own level of frustration and angst when we would go for a walk and I noticed a dog somewhere knowing what was to come. With the training that had been done while he was there the first time, that angst and frustration instantly disappeared the first time we went for a walk and I noticed a dog and Atlas did a very good job of regulating himself with some of my help.
7. We continue to work on Atlas making better choices and self-regulating when we are near other dogs on a walk and when he hears dogs outside the house. I actually look for opportunities to be near other dogs on a walk so that we can practice instead of trying to get away from it. He has improved so much!!!! We are working on "mark" inside the house which helps him calm down. It works so well that it makes training so much more fun and enjoyable for both of us. I think we're ready to up the ante and work on that outside the house in an area where dogs would be present in the distance as a distraction.
8. My advice....seek out the help and do EXACTLY as the training plan says with the recommended tools to assist, no shortcuts and no days off, trust the process!