It's a plane, it's a bird, it's a lightening bolt- it's Ziggy! Ziggy is such a fast mover at the park that all you see is a black streak running across the park. Ziggy loves, loves, loves to run and is happiest when he's in motion. He has been chosen as our Dog of the Month because of his much improved behavior. He has been such a good boy and is one of the best listeners in the pack now. We are so proud of his improvement and we are so in love with his awesome personality!
About two years ago, I received a call from Ziggy's owner, Leslie about her impossible six month old flat-coated retriever rescue. Leslie fell in love with Ziggy's bright brown eyes and agreed to take him home. At home, Ziggy was a maniac. Ziggy was wound up like a spinning top and would literally spin and chase his tail like a crazy pup. He was constantly barking at everything, jumping on people, lunging and pulling on the leash, terrorizing her other two dogs, and only knew how to sit. Leslie was in tears the first time that we met because she loved Ziggy so much, but had no idea how to control the dizzying energy of Ziggy.
Our first few sessions we worked on introducing Ziggy to several self-control impulse exercises. We worked on leave it, sit/stay, down/stay, and wait. We also worked on attention and focus commands, like "Look!" and "Touch!". Ziggy was very distracted by anything that moved- people, squirrels, skateboards, birds etc., so teaching him "Look!" really helped Leslie and Ziggy with making eye contact and breaking his fixation with certain distractions. We also worked on loose leash walking to make the walks more relaxed and to prevent leash reactivity. We fitted Ziggy with a Gentle Leader and a leash that snapped around Leslie's waist, and then we worked on 'heel' and 'wait'.
Leslie has always been extremely dedicated and consistent with working with Ziggy and he began to improve because of lots of patience and love. Leslie is also very diligent about giving Ziggy a lot of exercise and making sure that they practice all of the tools and techniques that they were taught. Ziggy also joins the midday play group once a week for socialization and fun while she is at work. Ziggy has improved tremendously with Leslie and in our play group in the last year and we are so proud of them!
Ziggy responds to me so well at the park and he is one of the first to come running when I call of the dogs. He happily sits and does 'down' when I ask him to even if there are a lot of other dogs around and he no longer gets leash reactive on the leash when he walks with the other dogs. He also used to panic and mouth me when I grabbed his collar, but now he nicely accepts a collar grab. He walks very nicely on the leash now without a Gentle Leader and he makes a lot of eye contact. When I used to walk in to the house to pick up Ziggy for the play group, he used to jump all over me, but now I've redirected his energy into doing "spins" on command instead of putting his paws on me. No dog is perfect and Ziggy is still working on a few things, but overall, we are so very proud of the leaps and bounds that Leslie and Ziggy have made together! Keep up the great work!