Rescue animals arrive with their own challenges and Hollywood is no exception. She was a very young breeding dog who got a life threatening infection that required surgery. I fell in love with her as soon as I saw her, with her shaven belly, large healing scar and teats hanging all over the place.
She quickly showed us she was not happy with the food she had been fed, but seemed happy to be safe and secure in her cage which would have been locked in the past, we kept it unlocked so she was free to be wherever she wanted to be. She now has several beds and the cage is gone.
She also was very smelly; it took three baths to get her to cuddle clean!
Hollywood is usually quiet, hardly ever barks and ignores most other dogs.
There are some dogs, however, she just does not like and chases them barking aggressively. She is very protective of her home, food, my clothes on the beach when I go for a surf, and that is normal, but when she chased a few very large dogs for no reason (that I could work out) I decided something had to be done!
I thought that dog training school might be good for socializing her with other dogs. I found the old school that I used to go to many years ago and the requirements, which among them was a current vaccination certificate. As a rescue, we had no certificate and as I believe in as little drugs and chemicals as possible, I approached the club and asked if they would accept a Titre Test* for the vaccination certificate? The Club President responded and said that while there was still some controversy over the test, yes, they had accepted it in the past so it would be fine.
* “A Titre Test is a laboratory test measuring the existence and level of antibodies in blood. Antibodies are produced when a foreign substance like a virus or bacteria provokes an immune response. Responses can come from natural exposure or vaccination.”
We found the right vet to do the test and it came back that Hollywood had the appropriate antibodies. Armed with the letter from the vet we fronted up to register for Training School to a group of very nice office personnel who wanted to discuss the Titre Test as they were considering having this done for their dogs in future, especially the older dogs who are not well. We were accepted in and I got a name tag with both my and her names on it.
Hollywood’s eyes were wide open like saucers, looking, sniffing, listening to all the other dogs. We were informed that there are over 150 dogs every week, all types of varieties from little palm size furry yappies to huge mini-horse size. There are around 37 trainers, so we are all divided up into much smaller classes, by level of experience.
We started in Kindergarten with lots of instruction, Hollywood mostly sitting bored by my side while it was me who got the instruction. Yes, it is the dog handlers who get trained, and then we tell the dog what we want them to do. Our Animal Mentors whole life meaning is to please us, they really want to, most of the time though they just don’t know what we want. Why? Because we don’t tell them!
After a few weeks in Kindergarten I had all the training I needed to start showing her what to do and we went into Grade 1. Hollywood was really enjoying it, she loves the attention, and loves knowing what I want her to do, and even more, enjoys the food rewards used to train.
After our weekly training and lessons every day we were told we were ready for grading to Level 2 and Hollywood got nervous… no she didn’t, but I did. We went for a one-on-one grading with a lovely instructor who has been a volunteer at the Training School for around 40 years. She passed us into Grade 2 and gave us a certificate, saying she really hopes we continue.
Now in Grade 2 Hollywood is learning to walk on a loose lead, sit – stay, drop – stay, and stand – which she is still coming to terms with. Why stand when we have been telling her to sit all this time???
Above is a video of her at a practice session and where she is up to now. I know you will joy seeing the love on her face.
**If you want to know more about grain-free raw feeding or natural health for your Animal Mentors I can put you in touch with Hollywood’s Animal Naturopath who helped us with all this. Send me an email and I will forward the details to you.