I can remember the first email I received from Nathalie & Phillipe – I could feel the stress they were experiencing, just reading their words.
They had rescued a mix breed dog off the streets of Doha and were having major issues with her. Everything from barking at people passing by the window, lunging at people in the street to rounding on her humans when she didn’t get her own way and not allowing her humans to go up the stairs without making a fuss on being left behind downstairs. Obedience nil! This was a pup who’d had a bad start… along with the fact that she thought she was totally in charge of everything and everyone. Pack leadership/Alpha was nonexistent in this home….
Sully, their older white poodle mix had belonged to Phillipe’s mum and after she passed away, came to live with the family – He was spoilt rotten but had health issues.
My first visit to their villa showed me how much distrust Kaya had in strangers, and even more to the point, her distrust of her humans, being evident in the lack of respect she had for them. She was top dog as far as she was concerned, and her humans were her pawns. Sully didn’t even feature in her scope. Some of Sully’s health issues included a skin condition, which required regular baths – this was a huge task to undertake with Kaya not allowing them to take Sully to the bathroom because he would be receiving attention and not her.
The 6 subsequent private lessons and quite a few group classes later were peppered with me chastising Nathalie & Phillipe on their quiet reprimands, instead of being assertive and calm with love and patience. Their frustrations well understood as they weren’t prepared for how long it would take for a permanent change, although slow progress was seen.
Late 2015, the family returned to France first and then headed to Luxembourg as their final stop.
I always worry about how things may turn out. Will the family continue to practice what I have shown them? Will they give up and give in, allowing the dog his/her own way and ultimately ending up with an unmannered, undisciplined dog who may or may not become a liability…Consistency is often an issue….
So you can imagine my relief and happiness at receiving this email from Nathalie recently, along with pictures of two very happy well adjusted dogs.
This is why I do what I do!!!!
I hope everything is well for you in Qatar. After a few weeks here in Luxembourg I wanted to share with you how Kaya and Sully are doing.
We took the opportunity of the move and new life in Luxembourg to reset the new rules like no jumping on the sofa or bed, dog’s place is in the kitchen and they are both sleeping there, dogs do not eat human food while we are eating. I must admit the first nights were awful with Kaya scratching the door, crying and barking but we sticked to it and it worked finally. I had to put 3 layers of cartons on the door to protect it, she woke me up 3, 4 5 times a night (as if I had a small baby to take care) but with patience and persistence we made it and I could take the cartons off the door 2 weeks ago. Now everything is fine.
We went to the vet here in Luxembourg for proper registration of those 2 citizens and the vet explained to both of us how serious Sully’s allergy was and the fact that we should not give him any other food than the one for atopic dogs. The only acceptable exception was vegetables with no protein (no butter, no cream), no bread, no rice. It was hard to take the decision and to change this habit he has had since he was a young puppy but for 6 weeks now Sully has only been eating his food (diversified and as tasty as possible) and some ratatouille once in a while to get beautiful red mustache.
We are walking Kaya and Sully sometimes in the forest and we can now walk Kaya without her lead. She does not go far from us and when she happens to do it we call her back and she comes back. Training with you has worked. When I remember this young dog who was leading us … Everything is not perfect but we will go on working with her and life is nice at home. Kaya has changed from a wild and competitive puppy into a bright, active and tender dog. Many thanks for your support and patience. We wish you a nice end of week. Best, Nathalie