Oh Ruby. Rubes. Rubester. Rubylicious. Ru Ru. Ruby Buby. These are all of my adorable yorkie's nicknames. She is the sweetest, cutest, most lovable, and affectionate little girl ever.
Except when she's not.
Ruby is a high anxiety dog. She is a yapper and a jumper. She doesn't like any change in her environment which includes noises inside or outside, tv station changes, rain, doorbell rings, people in the hallway, blinds moving up or down, or even anyone saying goodbye- even if it’s not to her. Yes, all of those things are real. Yes, my dog barks at rain. And, after our move to a new apartment a few months ago, it seemed that all of the changes have literally caused Ruby to lose. her. damn. mind. I was at the end of my rope with her. The problem is, we love her so much. She is incredible with Eliza and in her best moments, is honestly the most delicious little doggy ever. We didn't want to get rid of her or give up on her. We just wanted her to be that amazing dog all the time. We knew she had it in her. So we called Steve of Pack Leader Dogs.
Steve is a magician. His presence just commands respect and he works wonders with the unruliest of pups. I first met Steve about a year ago when I had some simple questions and problems with Ruby. We did the initial consultation/session where he taught me how to properly walk with her on a leash and establish control in my home. Initially, everything was great and the tips he gave me worked wonders. Fast forward a year, and the "control" wasn't mine. I knew it was time to regroup with him.
Steve is trained by Cesar Milan — you know — The Dog Whisperer! More than just trained by him, Steve works closely with him and is part of his trusted circle of trainers. He truly understands dog psychology and doesn't just "train" new behaviors, but gets to the root of the bad ones and fixes them.
So, Steve came back over and saw just how much Ruby had changed. He didn't sugarcoat it for me, I was the problem. I had created a pack where she was the leader and yet, she had absolutely no idea how to lead the pack. I gave her what I thought she needed (love and affection) instead of what she actually needed (discipline and leadership).
Ruby was a rescue puppy. She was rescued from a puppy mill and taken away from her mom and litter at a very young age. When we got her I was also in a sad place, having just lost our first fur-baby Stella. So, I did what I thought we both needed. I hugged and loved her. I let her sleep with me. I let her walk all over me...thinking that I would just treat her with all the love and affection I could and that would make us both happy. Basically, I had created this cute little monster.
Hi, my name is Cassie and I make dogs anxious.
So, yes, I accepted my role as the enabler and realized that in order to fix the problem, we both needed rehab. Ruby set off to a 4 week board & train with Steve and his team. She lived with them 24/7, learning to be her true self: a back of the pack dog who needs structure, set expectations, and a leader to show her the way. Initially, Steve was that leader- and we saw that she did really really well with him. She trusted him, and because she understood the expectations and boundaries, Steve was able to still give her the love and affection- appropriately.
The true test has been getting Ruby home. She has been incredible- the change has been amazing, and we have learned so much from our trainings with Steve. I am now able to walk her easily and take her on day trips with me. I am able to relax around her, not always worried what or who she will bark at next. I'm not going to lie, there have definitely been some hiccups and I see little slips in both mine and Ruby's structure. But working with Steve and his team has been the key to our success. They are in Hoboken, which of course makes it all so easy. They are responsive to my questions and always willing to help work though an issue. I am still the problem, and I know this. Each minor set back we have with Ruby has taken some adjustment on my end, but I'm working on it!
The important part is, we invested in Ruby. We made the decision to bring her into our home. We love her and she is a part of our family. Our daughter adores her, and she adores our daughter. Ruby deserves to be happy and we realized that we weren't giving that to her. We owed it to her to give her a good, balanced, and happy life. Pack Leader Dogs helped us to that, and for that, we are eternally grateful.
Thank you Steve & team!