MONSTER FACE & SQUIRREL A Tale of Two Frenchies We learned of the work that Leonard Ludovico does while we were frantically searching for someone who would be able to help our two year old French
Bulldog, Monster Face. Monster Face has been a part of our family since he was eight weeks old and, over that time, developed some rather severe possessive tendencies that resulted in a number of aggressive outbursts.
We had learned to live with his stubborn behaviors which included not wanting to give up things that he’s not supposed to have. Our first sign that something was severely wrong was a big one. We were at a family party and Monster Face picked up something that he shouldn’t have. We spent twenty minutes trying to get him to drop it and, in the end, we ended up at Urgent Care so that they could repair a finger that got in the way. We came up with all kinds of reasons why it happened, why it was an accident, and why we shouldn’t be worried. It was just an isolated incident, right?
Dog beach day with Ace & Cherie. They had so much fun playing with other dogs and interacting with people. Thank you, Leonard!
A couple months later, we went on vacation for a week leaving Monster Face with his trusty babysitter who’s taken care of him since we brought him home as a puppy. We weren’t even to our destination when we received a phone call saying “he bit me.” We didn’t grasp the severity of it until a few days later when he went after our babysitter again and bit her foot all over some foliage that he didn’t want cleaned up off of the carpet.
After returning home, you could imagine that our frustrations were mounting. He picked up a small piece of plastic and this is where it gets crazy. He was yelled at very, very loudly. The piece of plastic was attempted to be removed from the situation. Monster Face proceeded to climb up one of our leg’s and bite the inner thigh. He then ran over to the other person, who was surrounded by a bunch of Christmas decorations, and started jumping and snapping at everything around. Yep, even Santa Bugs Bunny felt the wrath of Monster Face. He proceeded to guard us for the next hour and a half. If you tried to move, he’d try to block you from moving. He even fell asleep and, if either one of us tried to move, he’d wake back up and wouldn’t let us move even an inch. One of us eventually was able to sneak out through our garage and we were finally able to calm the situation down.
A week later, Monster Face picked up a pine cone during a walk. As he was coming back home, the neighbor dog barked at him which made him drop the pine cone. He then turned around and attacked who was holding the leash biting them on the inner thigh. We spent the next 30 minutes trying to get him in the house because, every time you would try and pull him by his leash, he’d start snapping again. Finally, we used the leash to lift his front two paws off the ground and walked him in the house. He was thrashing around the whole time but, for once, we actually felt like we had the upper hand. We were able to show him that we were the bosses and, after that, we didn’t have an outburst for a couple of months.
As time clipped by without an outburst, we got the bright idea to rescue another Frenchie. We thought that by bringing another dog into the house, they’d be able to wear each other out. After all, a tired dog is a happy dog, right?
About six weeks after bringing our new Frenchie home, we had another outburst. We were giving the dogs treats and accidentally dropped one. Monster Face turned around to attack the person giving the treats. He grabbed on to the jeans and thrashed back and forth before deciding to put a whole foot in his mouth and whip his head back and forth. Luckily, the jeans were strong and shoes were on the feet, otherwise it would’ve been a very painful evening.
The last straw was in May when he tried to bite the face. We were getting ready to leave and he needed to go to his crate. We did everything that we normally did by picking him up except this time, he turned around and tried to bite the face.
We didn’t know what to do and were at our wits end. We took him to a trainer who was recommended to us by our vet. Hoping that we were finally going to have our problems taken care of, we let the trainer be particularly brutal with him. After this one training session, Monster Face seemed broken. He was stressed out. He didn’t know what was right and what was wrong. He was always on edge. He was a far cry from the dog he was a year prior. After some time, and one more outburst later, we didn’t know what to do…
That’s when we found Leonard.
We took Monster Face up for a consultation and could tell immediately that Leonard knew what he was talking about and what he was doing. We decided to leave him in the care of Leonard to be rehabilitated. It was heartbreaking to do this… to leave your best friend somewhere else for an undetermined amount of time… but we knew that it was for the best.
Now, while Monster Face was at the ranch learning to be a dog, our other Frenchie’s bad habits were getting harder to control. Since we were always so concerned with Monster Face, we were not able to dedicate much time at all to socializing Squirrel and teaching her everything you teach your dog. She was particularly stubborn. She didn’t listen. She pulled on the leash like you wouldn’t believe. And worst of all? She developed a bit of a fear aggression towards people and other dogs. We were quite worried that when we brought Monster Face home that Squirrel’s behavior would unravel all that he had learned.
The summer was particularly hot which made Monster Face’s progress slow since Frenchie’s can’t handle the heat all that well. After three weeks, we finally saw him for the first time. We could already tell that he was on the path to rehabilitation. He was following Leonard around and respecting his pack leader. He was actually listening, too! This was huge since listening was something that he never did with us. If you asked him to come, he would either look at you with a thousand yard stare or he would turn his back and walk the other way. We could see that his stress level was decreasing and he was much more happy than he was when we dropped him off. His rehabilitation was not done yet, though, and we didn’t see him again for another week.
We returned the following week with Squirrel to see how the two of them were going to be together. Squirrel wasn’t on the property for five minutes and Leonard could already see a myriad of problems with her, especially since she was copping a big attitude with everybody. We worked with both Monster Face and Squirrel for a few hours trying to learn the ropes and getting comfortable with our dogs again.
We had a few more sessions with Leonard before we finally took Monster Face home. When we took him home, we decided that it would be best to bring Squirrel back in a couple of weeks to go through boot camp as well. We wanted to ensure that all the dogs were on the same page and, hopefully, her fear could be properly addressed.
When Monster Face came home, it was like we had a new dog. He listened. He respected us. We trotted along proudly on his walks. Most importantly, he was calm and wasn’t on edge anymore. Keeping him in line does require a lot of work and dedication and we’ve learned how hard it can be to be consistent, but we are dedicated to continue using Leonard’s teachings so that we never become scared of our little boy again.
After having Monster Face home for a week or two, we then took Squirrel up for boot camp. We had no idea how severe her fear was until we arrived. Leonard simply shook a stack of papers in her general direction and she went nuts. It was then that we knew we made the right decision to have her go through boot camp as well.
As we’d get updates from Leonard, we learned how rough of a road he was on and how Squirrel’s behaviors were really bad. None of us are quite sure where the fear developed from but, combining this with all the attention and spoiling that we did, it was a bit of a perfect storm. Thankfully, she had a great pack of dogs to be rehabilitated with and Leonard let her be a dog instead of a spoiled little princess. She was brought back down to Earth in a couple of weeks.
Prior to Leonard’s rehabilitation, our household was completely stressful. We were constantly worrying about the dogs, they were always misbehaving, and it simply wasn’t a fun environment to be in. We now live in a two-dog household where we are the leaders… walks are actually a pleasure to go on and, in fact, one person can now walk both dogs at the same time!
We had a huge moment recently where we took both of the dogs to an off leash dog beach to meet other Frenchies. We were nervous going in and were completely prepared to pack everyone up and go home if anything went sideways. Thankfully, the trip was a success. Monster Face and Squirrel played along side about a dozen French Bulldogs as well as other dogs that were on the beach. They were friendly to all of the dogs and, most importantly for Squirrel, friendly with their owners as well. This was HUGE and could not have happened without Leonard’s help.
We could not have done any of this without Leonard. Not at all. We were completely clueless as to what to do and lacked the resources and knowledge to be able to fix the problems that our dogs were exhibiting. Leonard was so gracious with his time investing at least 15 hours in training us. He truly knows what he’s doing and certainly can help anyone bring their dogs back down to Earth. Without him, we may have had to give up Monster Face and keep Squirrel in the house at all timesWe are forever indebted to Leonard and cannot thank him enough.
Thank you Leonard Ludovico from (k9bodylanguage.com) for all your help,
Dan & Amy
Thank you Leonard Ludovico from (dominantdogs.com) for all your help,