Dog Owner Reviews
In June and July of 2022, I adopted two Husky’s from National Mill Dog Rescue (NMDR.org) located in Peyton Colorado. The intent of these adoptions was to find a companion dog for my own Husky, Topaz after losing my German Shepherd earlier in 2022. The adoption staff makes every effort to ensure compatibility between the adopter, the existing dog in the household, and the dog(s) being adopted. The available dogs from NMDR are surrendered by the puppy mills when they are no longer suitable for breeding purposes. Most of these beautiful purebred dogs have limited socialization skills resulting in fearful interactions with humans. Because most people are looking for puppies or young dogs, these older dogs are less likely to find their forever homes and may come with some underlying health or behavior issues. None of these issues are the fault of the dog I believe deserves a chance at a better life for their remaining years.
I have been used to having multiple dogs at one time, various breeds over the years and my backyard is designed for the comfort and security of my companion dogs. I thought I was pretty experienced and had the patience to handle training the newly adopted special needs Huskies. After 5 months of letting them get acclimated to their new home, it was time to start training to get them to respond and bond with me. NMDR recommended positive reinforcement methods for training these rescues. Most of the dog trainers’ NMDR referrals were located in or near Colorado Springs. Doing my own internet research resulted in finding Tenderfoot Natural Dog Training and Loving Leaders Dog Training. I feel very fortunate to have located Isaac Reeve to coach me as I begin working with Patches, age 4 & Lacy, age 7. Anyone who has owned a Husky knows they can be very stubborn, known escape artists, prone to rebel against obedience commands, and yet have a very sensitive temperament. It would be a challenge and I am committed to meeting it. I was very impressed when after only one session with Isaac in November the accomplishment these dogs have made. Isaac worked primarily with Patches in the session. We still have a long way to go but I feel I am definitely on the right track. I appreciate Isaac’s availability and willingness to schedule training sessions based on the dog’s needs or when I feel like I have reached a plateau or need guidance to push through to the next level.
Patches who was very shy and insecure has become more confident, adapted to regular grooming, and has taken well to leash training in his comfort zone in the backyard. As he became more acclimated to his new home, he began destructive chewing most likely out of boredom. Redirecting this behavior by challenging him with new activities seems to curb the undesirable behavior. Consistency and ending each training session with a positive exercise have built his confidence.
Lacy is the one who has made the biggest transformation. For the first four months, she avoided eye contact and rarely allowed me to touch her. She is quite skilled at evading being trapped or cornered. I thought having the freedom of a big yard was good, but Isaac convinced me she had “too much recess” and that restricting the area available to her would enhance her being able to bond with me. The only time she would come into the house was if she was more fearful of the wind or thunder outside. I am happy to report that she is coming inside more frequently on her own and is more relaxed once inside. Initially, when she was coming into the house, I kept a leash on her, and with the pole exercise, she worked through her anxiety and gradually allowed me to massage/brush and groom her. She is very resistant to having her feet touched and I have made progress to overcome this by using the touch exercises, stroking gently at the shoulder, and working toward the feet pausing until she relaxes. I have started leash work with her as well. Surprisingly, she is actually very light on the leash once she overcomes her anxiety of being tethered. She seems to have an ear for gateways & door thresholds and tries to bolt through them.
I am grateful for Isaac’s compassion for dogs and for sharing the positive training techniques to enhance the desired behavior and bonding process with my adopted Husky rescues.