We were so excited when we met our pup Guava at the shelter. He was 10 months old and seemed playful, affectionate, and the shelter left us under the impression he was sociable, with some occasional play nipping. When we brought him home, it was a very different story. While still playful and wanting our attention, he could become overstimulated very easily, and often begin biting us instead of the toy; the shelter had told us to just “turn our back to him” for him to stop, but he continued to bite our legs leaving bruises and marks. While we enlisted a trainer who got us through the first few months, we still struggled with his play biting, and began seeing increased reactivity with other dogs and people, especially men. I would come from walks crying, anxious and paranoid after an afternoon of hiding behind trees and tugging Guava away from loud men on cell phones, or children on bikes. It was getting harder to take him to the dog park, and have him play nicely with other dogs. We worried about how he would be perceived as a pit bull mix.
And then we met Sabrielle.
From the moment I spoke with Sabrielle on the phone, I felt like someone finally understood what we were going through, what Guava was going through, and how to help. Even from the first 2 hour in home meeting, Sabrielle taught Guava (and us) some new commands and tools for walks and we saw an immediate difference that week. Moreover, my boyfriend and I felt like we finally understood why Guava was acting the way he was, and how we could support him and begin to reshape the behavior. Over the past 5 months or so working with Sabrielle, we’ve finally reached a place where we can go on a walk with 0 incidents – in fact, Guava now actively ignores or looks at us when many of his old triggers pass us by.
Sabrielle has also been such a wealth of knowledge for me and my boyfriend, and has always been available for phone calls to discuss issues we are working on and give us scenarios and commands to go through. She walks you through why your dog is reacting the way they are and why the corresponding training will help. She helped us form a training routine for Guava we use almost every day, and impressed upon us how important our consistent efforts are to seeing improvement.
While we still have a ways to go, we finally feel like we are on the right track. Especially in these times of quarantine, I feel so thankful for the progress Guava has made, and that I can finally enjoy going outside with him or cuddling with him on the couch, and not worry about him reacting or nipping me. I could not recommend Sabrielle more to anyone who is going through similar struggles with a reactive dog, and is committed to making a change!