I brought my 8-year old mutt Diesel to Leonard after what seemed like a lifetime of trying to deal with him on my own unsuccessfully. By the time I brought Diesel to Leonard he had racked up quite an extensive bite history – both with myself (one time which led to me having to go to the ER and subsequently not being able to work for a week), and at least half a dozen other people. I was at the point where I couldn’t ever have people over at my house, my family and friends refused to come visit me because of him, and I was basically unable to travel at all because I couldn’t find anyone that was willing to or capable of caring for him. On top of that, he jumped every fence and escaped from every cage I tried to put him in. I had tried taking him to trainers in the past, which helped to a certain extent with things like basic obedience and the like, but didn’t change his reaction to other people and situations. Essentially, he had slowly but surely taken over my entire life and I had hit my wits end trying to figure out what else I could possibly do to fix the situation.
When I took Diesel to Leonard the first thing that surprised me was the amount of time Leonard spent talking to me before even asking to see Diesel. He spent almost an hour trying to understand how I interpreted my relationship with my dog and how I felt about what needed to change. When Leonard finally met Diesel he of course tried to do what he does best – and tried to attack Leonard. Within 10 minutes of Leonard calmly navigating Diesels frantic attempts, they were sitting side by side, with no leash (which I had NEVER been able to do before with him!). Although I had come that day with the intention of just doing a consult, I decided right then that I would leave Diesel with Leonard for the doggy boot camp to get intensive training.
5 weeks later I went to pick up Diesel and was met with a completely new animal. The fear and anxiety that was second nature to Diesel was gone – he walked without a leash beside me for two hours and was attentive and respectful of both Leonard and me. Leonard gave me tools to recognize and manage Diesel’s behavior, and helped me feel confident that Diesel wasn’t a lost cause, but in fact was a great animal that just needed the right guidance. Diesel has been home now for a week and so far I have been able to have friends over at my house, I’ve taken him to restaurants where he’s calmly sat on the patio in the midst of several people without any reaction, and he seems happier and more comfortable than I have ever seen him in the 8 years I have owned him. Most importantly, what Leonard made me realize through this process was that the way I dealing with Diesel wasn’t just limited to the dog-owner relationship, but was actually a reflection of the way I was managing the rest of my life (HUGE light-bulb moment!). Once I understood what role I needed to play for Diesel I was not only able to be the owner that he needed me to be, but actually take a lesson from him on how to change my own not-so-great behaviors, both personally and professionally.
I’m so glad that I made the decision to take Diesel to Leonard, it was an eye-opening experience that I couldn’t replace, and the results speak for themselves!