Jake is, by far, the strangest dog that I've ever had the pleasure of meeting. I rescued him when he was 4 months old. His beautiful blue eyes, wrinkly face, and "I can do it myself" attitude captured my heart the moment I first met him.
From what I can gather, his first few months of life were rough. He was found by the side of the road with both of his back legs broken, and the day I went to pick him up, I also learned that he was (and is) completely deaf. After my first few days with Jake, it became clear to me that he had in some way been abused. Unlike any other young puppy I've ever met, he was very unwelcoming to touch of any kind. To make matters worse, I quickly learned that he was not very fond of other dogs. It started off with growls and nips, and as time passed, it quickly turned into calculated attacks. I could see brief glimpses of his sweet and soft at home, but there was such a thick layer of anger covering it up. It made me so sad to see him this way.
I spent months learning how to train a deaf dog, and socialize aggressive dogs. Google became my best friend. But try as I may, Jake's aggression towards other dogs became, quite frankly, unmanageable. Eventually, I had completely given up trips to the dog park, hiking, the dog beach, and really any form of activity that offered a chance to encounter other dogs. I was sad, and Jake was visibly becoming very depressed. The quality of life for both of us had diminished, and I felt so guilty and hopeless. I felt like I had nowhere to turn. And then I met Ralf.
I had tried other trainers in the past, and one had even told me that there was nothing that could be done for Jake at all. So suffice to say, things didn't seem promising, and I didn't have a lot of hope going in. I can't tell you how wrong I was. Very quickly, Ralf taught me about being the leader and making Jake both respect and trust me. We learned that Jake's aggression was actually coming from fear and not dominance as I had originally thought. All of this time, I had been treating the wrong problem! As a happy side-effect to our sessions, our walks improved (no pulling at all!), and Jake started to let me touch him in places I'd never been able to before (ears, paws, belly, etc.). He had become more affectionate, calm, and seemed much more relaxed.
Then, after 2 years of failed attempts, I was shocked and amazed that within only 3 months of working together, we were able to take Jake INTO the dog park for our lessons. Soon enough he was off leash and it was only a matter of a few weeks until we saw him, for the first time EVER, actually PLAY with another dog. He was running, wrestling, and jumping just like a puppy should, and all of this without any aggression being shown. I literally started crying, right there in the middle of the dog park.
The change that I have seen in Jake is nothing short of a transformation. Family members have told me that he is a new dog, and we are now taking regular trips to the dog park. I even took Jake camping with 2 other dogs and he did great! I cannot say enough about Ralf and the fantastic work that he's done with my little canine hero. He has literally changed our lives for the better. Thank you doesn't even begin to cover it. I fully intend to call Ralf with any and all of my future dog training needs, and highly recommend him to anyone with dog needs of any kind.Jamie S.,