We have many wonderful adoptable dogs at LCHS, and this week, I'm going to highlight two of our sweet pups that are looking for forever homes. To follow up on last week's column on the importance of heartworm prevention and heartworm treatment for heartworm-positive dogs, I'm featuring two dogs who have been heartworm treated during their time at LCHS. After dogs recover from heartworm treatment, dogs often blossom and show their full, healthy personalities.
Dyson, a Young-at-Heart Pup With Lots of Love to Give
Dyson is a happy, affectionate boy who would love to snuggle on the couch with you after zooming around your backyard. Dyson was heartworm positive when he entered the shelter, but we had him treated and placed him back on the path to excellent health.
Dyson has so much enthusiasm for life and learns new skills quickly, even at eight and a half years old. Dyson is eager to make his people happy and becomes attached to staff and volunteers who spend time with him. He becomes nervous when left alone, so we're looking for adopters who can help him to gradually acclimate to alone time. Theresa Nichols, a certified professional dog trainer who owns a franchise with Bark Busters, is currently working with Dyson and has generously offered to assist with training in his new home after he is adopted.
Dyson's Training with Theresa Nichols, CPDT
We are incredibly thankful for Nichols's assistance in training dogs who are experiencing stress and behavioral problems at the shelter. When asked about her experience volunteering with the shelter, Nichols said, "I'm so grateful for you guys and that I can be part of helping you save lives. Every time I get a new dog to work with, it makes me feel good to know that I'm going to help them find a furever home."
Nichols owns a franchise with Bark Busters, a global dog training organization specializing in training dogs in their home environments. Bark Busters focuses on positive reinforcement and dog psychology fundamentals to achieve lasting results.
Nichols emphasized the benefits of in-home training with the dog's people as active participants by explaining, "The relationship isn't with the trainer but with their family. In a way, I'm more of a human trainer than a trainer of dogs."
When asked about the Bark Busters methods, Nichols mentioned that she seeks to ensure effective human-dog communication, trust, and respect between the dog and their family. When clear communication occurs, trust and respect increase consistent responsiveness to their people's commands, as dogs rely on their people to navigate the complex human world.
Dyson's Training Progress
Nichols also shared Dyson's progress with training. Nichols explained that they have practiced "walking on a leash, loose leash, with a few distractions, and he's pretty amazing on that. If he starts to get ahead, it takes just a little tug, or check, to slow down."
For their second session on February 10th, Nichols brought Dyson for our weekly group walk so that she could work with him in a natural environment that he'll encounter once he's adopted and goes on walks with his new person or family. For his most recent session on February 17th, Nichols said that he was an all-star and is progressing fantastically with his commands, including "wait" and "free." Nichols explained, "I place treats on the stairs, and he's not allowed to get the treat until I "free" him to do it."
He is also learning to be okay in a space with his handlers without constant attention, which is essential to overcome his separation anxiety. When he displays attention-seeking behaviors, such as barking and whining, Nichols responds by not rewarding it, which is vital because dogs, like people, repeat actions that achieve a wanted result.
When a dog displays unwanted attention-seeking behaviors, the handler or owner may decrease and eventually eliminate the behavior by ignoring the dog until the unwanted behaviors cease and then call the dog over to provide attention. With his loving nature and eagerness to learn, Dyson will be a fantastic companion for someone who can provide the TLC he needs. Dyson enjoys the company of female dogs with calmer temperaments.