When I got Belle, she was on her second owner already. She had been adopted from the Humane Society and then returned a few weeks later. Then another family adopted her. This family had her for a year or two but then made the decision to give her someone who could spend more time with her. Since they lived next door to my parents, I had gotten to know Belle a little bit through the fence and offered to take her.
She always was, and still is, a very sweet dog. But she came to me with very little training and no socialization. The first time I put her on a leash to try and walk her was a disaster! She bolted and dragged the leash after her with a clackity-clack on the pavement, which scared her even more and made her go faster. Although in hind sight, it was a little funny, it wasn’t a fun experience for either of us. Ever tried to catch a dog who doesn’t want to be caught? It’s really embarrassing. Just as you think you can sneak up on her, she goes running off. I only caught her after making a dive for her in a neighbor’s yard – in the mud no less.
Well, that was it. I wanted a dog that could sit, walk on a leash, come when called, and wasn’t so nuts about squirrels as this one was when I first got her. So off to dog school we went…for the first time. Since I had never trained a dog before, dog school was very helpful. But perhaps the most helpful thing was the opportunity to socialize Belle. She growled and bared her teeth at every dog there, but by the end of class she was so much better. So much so, that we went back the next year to try and socialize her some more.
I’l share some of the things we learned in dog school in this blog; maybe it will be of help to someone who has a dog with a history like mine.