A little over one year ago we adopted Jenga from JRs. She is our protector and we are hers. It hasn't always been easy. We've had LOTS of bumps along the way, but there isn't a day goes by that we aren't head over heels in love with her.
When we first got her she would pull the leash like crazy and bark and lunge at every single dog she saw. She had anywhere from 5-8 reactive episodes every day! She would react to dogs, people, bikes, and even statues. Over the first few months she slowly became increasingly protective of our home showing signs of aggression to anyone near or in our house she didnt know. She stopped letting strangers get close to us.
We were first time dog owners and while we often felt like we were in over our heads, I think our inexperience worked to our advantage. We had no other "easy" dog to compare her to and were not ashamed of getting professional help. We were open to knew ways of doing things because we didnt have a way we were used to.
The first day our certified behaviorist came over to the house Jenga went insane. She was snarling, barking, and lunging at her. The behaviorist was startled by her aggressive behavior. She told us most dogs she sees have an 80% success rate but she said with Jenga it could go either way, maybe 50%. We were crushed.
We couldn't give up on her and were convinced not to let Jenga be a statistic.
Fast forward to today 7 months later and Jenga is a completely different dog:
- She can loose leash walk at my side
- She is learning how to accept strangers into our house (including our behaviorist) with a slow introduction routine that begins outside
- Her leash reactive episodes are down to 2-3 per month at the most and I have no doubt that they will completely disappear one day
- She has even been counter conditioned to our doorbell and ignores it when it goes off
Her transformation was not easy but she was worth every minute, every penny, and every tear. She has made us better dog owners and we will do everything we can to keep her safe for the rest of her life.
When we first started looking for help I searched the internet constantly, trying to find a success story with a dog like her. I couldn't find many, so I want to share her story.
Dont give up. The greatest factor for your dog's sucesss is your attitude.
We are forever grateful for JRs for bringing her into our life. Lots of love from Jenga and family.
Update: We are now working on safely introducing dogs to our home with our behaviorist so we can hopefully bring home some dog foster brother or sisters. I think she will do great since she has always preferred dogs to humans. Stay tuned.
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