Tami Colclough and Hannah
We adopted Hannah, our beautiful 8-year-old Husky cross, seven months ago. She had been returned to the SPCA three times after being seized from her previous owners. We were told that she had aggressive issues towards other dogs and had been returned for this reason.
We spent two days with her at the shelter, visiting with our five kids to ensure she was the right fit for us. Our kids range from 12 - 20 yrs of age which appealed to the shelter.
We hired a trainer who works with aggressive dogs. Previously Hannah, bit two dogs, had a small dog around the throat trying to shake it. I have been bit several times trying to get her attention and break the focus on the other dog.
In order to put us at ease and not bring additional stress to training Hannah, we walked the neighborhood introducing Hannah and explaining that she has issues with dogs and that we are working with her.
The support we received from our neighbors has been amazing. Our neighbors with dogs have asked how they can help and have also provided us the ability to use their dogs (enclosed in their own yards) as training for Hannah. We have tried different methods and found the Halti to work for our Hannah. It allows us to force Hannah to sit, look directly into our eyes and away from the dog she is focused on. Once we have her attention we gently give her the command 'Calm,' once she settles just a little, we allow her the slack and then take the lead.
This method has allowed the kids to lead her and give her commands. Our neighbors work with us so we know their dogs are under control. Recently Hannah has started walking past a rescue foster house, with newly received foster dogs barking as they settle in to the house. Before, she used to get worked up at the sight of this house, but now she will look to us as we approach. Whoever has her leash will calmly give her the 'calm' command and she is learning to settle herself down.
I know there will be other tests ahead of us and that she may never be able to trust other dogs but we are building her trust in us to guide her through the situations.
Sometimes it may take a village to rehabilitate a dog. My wish is that people do not give up on their rescue dogs, keep trying...I cannot explain the invaluable amount of information your site has provided us and will continue to provide as we work through Hannah's issues.
Surrey, BC, Canada