Sunday, February 17, 2013

Taming the Beast

Faolan demonstrates some reactivity on our walks. My sweet boy becomes a demon-lunging, jumping, barking, forgetting I exist. It's mostly directed at barking dogs. Unfortunately there's a surplus of neurotic, neglected yard dogs in my area. Our walks are fairly nice when he's not acting like a fool.

He also tends to act this way in public. He's a sweet boy, and adores people. I'd like to take him more places.

I decided to seek the help of the trainer suggested by both the shelter and the vet. Steve Lackey relies solely on word of mouth, and gets plenty of business from it. He has rehabbed "unadoptable" dogs for various shelters and rescues, and offers boarding and training. I messaged him last week, and drove out to meet him yesterday.

He. Is. Amazing. He truly speaks dog. Faolan liked him instantly, even though he was too excited/overwhelmed too take a treat.

Steve fitted him with a prong collar. I have never used one, because I didn't know how to fit one, use one properly, or even undo the prongs.

We took Faolan to his fenced in area, and another trainer brought out Jasper (more on him later).

Jasper was fairly calm with Paul, and Faolan didn't demonstrate his usual stupidness. They brought out a cute little barking blue pit bull who got Faolan's attention, and he started pulling his usual stunts. One quick "correction" from Steve and he instantly stopped, and focused on Steve. We did this a couple times, and Faolan was able to walk by without being a beast.

We took a break, removed the prong collar, and placed the leash on his flat collar. Paul brought Jasper back outside, and the leashes were dropped to see how Faolan did greeting a strange, calm dog. They were instant buddies!!

Steve holding Jasper.

We put the prong collar back on, and walked Faolan through the neighborhood and into the small town where Steve is located. We strolled through an antique market. The owner joked that Steve is in there every week with a different woman and different dog. Faolan attempted to jump on the owner (his other bad habit), and Steve corrected him. He hasn't attempted to jump on Les since yesterday, when that typically occurs several times a day.

We walked back to his place, and gave Faolan a break and some water in a kennel. We went back out again into the bitter cold, this time with Paul. We walked by houses with barking dogs, and after the second house, Faolan was only just looking at the dogs. Steve then passed by us with another dog on leash, and Faolan was interested, but not freaking out. That's good enough for me. We let them greet, and he did fine.

Steve holding my big baby.

We spent three hours there, and it was well worth it. It's about a 45 minute drive, one way. I definitely will be going back, once it warms up. I'm strongly considering taking Bruce out there to work with him. If anyone can help Bruce, I believe he can.

I did purchase a prong collar today for Faolan. I put it on him, and sized it correctly. I know there is some stigma surrounding prong collars, particularly in the wolfdog community. Steve said to call or message him if I have any questions, and I certainly will if I need to.


  1. I generally do not like prong collars, nor leash corrections, not because of what they are, but because people do not know how to properly use them. I know how to use one correctly (I actually walk a friend's dog on one) and it's incredibly easy to learn how, but most people just do not take the time. They want a quick fix, a no-brainer, and think the prong is a "self-correcting" tool which it is not, and they end up doing more damage than good.

    Anyways, don't let anyone trash-talk you for getting a prong for Faolan. If you feel it will help him to become a better behaved dog and you use it correctly, they will have no reason to be a butthead about it.

  2. Dogs are human’s best friends. Many people always want to bring dogs belong to them when they go out. But in many cases, people can not bring dogs with them.


Thanks for the howls!!