Tucker, my Lab/Great Dane mix, was adopted at 18 months from an area shelter as a playmate for my 2-year-old Chocolate Lab, Molly. He was a stray that had spent 7 months at the shelter with little opportunity for socialization or training. I immediately started him in traditional obedience classes where he responded with fear and resistance to collar “corrections”. He was aggressive towards other dogs, except Molly, with barking and lunging.
Over the next couple of months, Tucker’s aggression escalated to people, he started destroying the house and began guarding a corner of the sofa as his own. Molly responded by becoming protective of me and attacking Tucker. It was obvious that traditional training methods were not working and, I believe, they were making the situation worse because reaching for his collar now caused him to turn and bite. I was afraid of him and concerned for Molly’s safety.
Then I found Eileen at Second Chance Dog Training and started using her positive reinforcement based training. Both dogs were taught all of the obedience commands using praise and treats. Tucker was reinforced as the dominant dog (below me) to reduce the fights that were occurring between Molly and Tucker. Molly and Tucker’s relationship has improved and they spend their days playing and sleeping.
Within two months, I was able to take Tucker to a dog-filled park and walk along the trails with a happy dog that no longer felt the need to lunge at every dog he saw. He can even meet and greet some dogs. I have become confident in my ability to work with Tucker and handle him in various situations. He loves my attention, is eager to please, sits whenever he isn’t sure what to do and allows me to hold him at the collar to remove things from his mouth. I believe Eileen and the positive training methods literally saved Tucker’s life because, without her, I would have been unable to keep him for fear he would eventually hurt someone.