Jenna was my best friend & right hand gal. Because of her, I found my passion to help educate others about dog behavior and the science of positive dog training. She taught me to be patient and to live in and enjoy each moment of life, just as she did - Sara B.
Tell us all about Jenna:
My husband, for some reason, really wanted a Boxer. We had no dogs at the time and I wasn't keen on getting one. He found Jenna online, showed me a picture of her and I agreed we could meet her. Her then paw-rents brought her over for a visit to see if we'd be a good match for her. I kept my distance and let my husband decide, as this was to be his dog. I have him the go-ahead and Jenna quickly became my girl. The more I kept my distance, the more she wiggled her way into my heart! Jenna was the sweetest girl ever and the best cuddler. She was always by my side on the couch, half sitting on my lap. In her younger days, Jenna loved to play with her loudest squeaky toys in the early morning hours. She also loved learning new things, especially because she got super yummy treats. She LOVED to eat., She could hear a wrapper opening form the other end of the house and she'd be right there - head tilted, staring into your soul, as if she would pass out if she didn't get a bite!
What was your biggest training obstacle to overcome with Jenna:
My biggest behavioral obstacle to overcome with Jenna was her leash reactivity, particularly with small dogs. I'm not sure if this was an existing issues, before we adopted her. I was a novice dog person and didn't know to ask. Through positive training and desensitization, Jenna was able to become more confident and relaxed on our walks and was able to pass most other dogs without incident.
What advice do you have for dealing with the death of a family dog?
If you know your dog has an incurable or life-long illness, prepare. Know what to look for to indicate that your dog is uncomfortable. Dogs are experts at masking pain. This about a plan about how you want your dog to pass. Whether you choose to take your dog to your local vet, the emergency vet or have your pet euthanized at home, ask those difficult questions about the process. It will be easier when you know what to expect. It's so very difficult and heartbreaking to think about, but the more you plan and prepare, the better you'll feel about your decision. However, know that you cannot plan for everything. Accidents and emergencies do happen and you may not have time to prepare. Just know that you did your best, given the circumstances, and your dog is grateful for that. Know that no matter what, you'll probably have regrets as you go through the stages of grief. You may think your dog could've had one more good day or you may feel you waited too long. There is no perfect time, It's so difficult to lose a beloved family member, because they weren't "just a dog." They were likely your best friend, so grieve in your own way and on your own time.
What advice do you have for people who are looking to adopt:
Do your research. Think about your lifestyle and what you're looking for in a pet. Adopting a pet is not a decision to be taken lightly, it's a long term commitment and it is a lot of work. Wherever you adopt your dog from, please, please do not purchase a dog or puppy from a pet store. While you may think you're saving them, despite what the store tells you, those dogs have come from puppy mills and adopting them only lines the pockets of the people who make a living off of dogs living in deplorable conditions used as breeding machines. Please consider adopting from a rescue or local shelter. There are so many dogs in need of a loving, forever home. Lastly, training goes a long way! I promise you'll learn as much or more than your dog. It's a great way to bond with your dog while simultaneously teaching your dog polite behaviors. It's so much fun!