I have had dogs for 35 years and was positive I knew everything there was to know about dogs. I labored under this delusion until Sept. 2013, when my two male dogs got into their second bloody fight in a week. I foolishly stuck my hands between their faces and was promptly bitten, my right hand being held for about 15 seconds, or maybe it really was the lifetime it seemed at the time. Having both hands with stitches was a moment-to-moment reminder of my personal fantasies about my understanding and interactions, with my four dogs.
That was when I finally acknowledged that I knew far less than I had told myself, about keeping a peaceful and balanced pack. My good friend, Diane, had been telling me about her Canine Behaviorist, Ed, for nearly two years, saying I really needed to contact him and get my dogs into a better and more balanced state. But I knew everything about dogs, and my 4 were perfect in all ways. I didn’t need a behaviorist! How wrong I was.
After coming home from a midnight to 4 am stint in the local ER, stitches and pain meds, I spent the rest of the rest of the day coming to grips with how wrong I had been in my assumptions about my pack. The e-mail to Ed went out the following morning. Two years later and 3 of my dogs are everything I could ever have wanted, calm, happy, BALANCED.
The last year has seen my youngest dog nearly die from AutoImmune Hymolitic Anemia, a long, drug-filled 10 months later, it’s her turn to spend some time at Ed’s, to live with his balanced pack and learn how to become everything she was meant to be, happy, healthy and balanced. Ed has changed my life in a very positive way. The dogs are awesome, it’s me that still has work to do… but I’ll get there, too. Balanced dogs need and deserve a balanced pack leader.
When my daughter moved home with her Pit-bull Lab mix, Eva, we knew we needed help to socialize her dog, as well as mine. Eva is a special needs rescue who is easily overwhelmed by other dogs, loud noises and is extremely distrustful of people, especially men. Her rescue dog, Bravo, on the other hand, is a highly energetic Jack Russell who needed positive ways to expend energy. We were having trouble integrating both dogs into one pack. They were leading separate lives on different floors. Prior to calling Edward, I contacted a number of other trainers, but I knew our dogs didn’t need “training”. My experience with horses had taught me what they needed was a dog behaviorist. I found Edward’s card at a pet store. Seeing his Pit-Bull laying alongside his Chihuahua made me want to call him. When we spoke on the phone, I interviewed him for about an hour. What appealed to me was his willingness to take all the time necessary to correct the issues our dogs had. As he told me during that phone call, “Dogs only know two times of the day, sun up and sun down. The rest of their life is not governed by billable hours.”
When Edward arrived at our house that first day, Eva, as expected, acted out by barking aggressively and not allowing him to come anywhere near us. While most people would have given up, Edward literally and figuratively stood his ground, exhibiting a calm energy. In time he taught our girl that he meant no harm; and by the end of that first meeting she was sitting quietly at his feet! During all subsequent visits she clearly acknowledged him as pack leader, and quietly followed his commands of sit, stay, heel and play, all while respecting everyone’s boundaries. But what we learned most from Edward was really about ourselves and how we relate to our dogs. We learned to exude a peaceful, calm energy around our dogs. Allowing us to handle our dogs in public environments, such as pet stores and dog parks; wherein there is a lot of chaos and and an overwhelming number of scents.
Our experience with Edward became apparent when we moved across the country with our dogs in the car, along with our cat, while sleeping in tiny motel rooms. Ed taught us how to handle that as well. Edward has made me much more of a relaxed and confident pack leader. I find that I must rely on what he taught me and his lessons are still locked in my memory. Even today, an entire year later our dogs, and ourselves, are in a much better, calmer place. Thank you Ed! All our hard work has really paid off.