Introducing….. Piper

img_20161021_172247  Say hello to Piper!  Piper is a 5-month-old St. Bernard/Lab mix I am going to be working with. She is going to be training to become a full-fledged Service animal for her human, Gary. She has no prior training, so we will be starting with the basics.

I met Piper last night. She is a sweet-natured girl who, despite having no prior training, is fairly well-mannered. When we met, she was excited, but instead of trying to jump on me, she sniffed me over quite thoroughly – which is exactly what I hoped she would do.  When she was satisfied, she walked away.

One of the first things I observed about Piper is that she is fearful. I attempted to pet her under her chin, and she shied.  While testing her responses to being on a lead, and making a very slight correction with the leash, she cowered. When I gave her vocal praise, she tucked her tail between her legs, arched her back, laid her ears right back, and looked at me with fear in her eyes. Another behavior I observed in her was dominance towards the other dog in the house, Chloe [pronounced Klo-ee]. Chloe is a beautiful, calm, 7-year-old chocolate pit bull who belongs to Gary’s uncle. When Chloe was being given attention, Piper tried to shove her out of the way to get the attention for herself. When Chloe tried to moved from one room to another, Piper crowded her and made several attempts to put her muzzle on Chloe’s back.  When Chloe was laying down, Piper badgered her by mouthing her feet, her face, and her ears. At first, this appeared to be an invitation to play, but it quickly became apparent that Piper was exhibiting territorial behavior.

I have a lot of work to do with this girl. I hope you’ll stay tuned.  Piper’s journey will be starting very soon….


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