Meet Downey! This 1.5 year old Retriever mix is a southern boy from Tennessee. Rescued by Fetch WI Rescue from a high kill shelter and flown to Wisconsin for adoption, he is a total heartthrob with crazy 80's hair, short legs and a dark face that makes it look like he just stuck his head in soot.
Kristen and Scott are Downey's people (and boy-oh-boy, does Downey have great people!) The couple went looking for a second dog to add to their family (we didn't forget about you, Miles!!) and came across this fearful and timid boy. When Kristen and Scott met Downey, they weren’t sure he would even approach them. But, magic happens. Downey ran straight to Kristen, jumped into her lap and smothered her with kisses.
Downey instantly bonded with Kristen and Miles, finding confidence and security with his new mama and dog brother. Scared of men, Downey and Scott took it slow (really, really, really slow). In addition to building his confidence in the world, Downey had no experience with any type of training. Kristen & Scott set goals, committed to the work and offered infinity patience, love and understanding. It paid off! I was overwhelmed with the progress this family made in such a short time and honored to watch it unfold in class. Kristen and Scott were kind enough to share their journey:
Due to Downey’s lack of confidence, we signed him up for Focused and Confidence with Dog Face. In this class, we worked on learning important behaviors such as “touch,” “look," "lay down," "leave it," and "go to mat." These basic cues helped make Downey more comfortable approaching new people and distracting him when he started to get nervous. We practiced on our own, several times a week, in small sessions, to build his skills and improve his sense of trust. We used a lot of treats!
When Downey first started class, he held his tail between his legs and displayed a lot of anxious behavior, including nervous peeing when things go to be too much for him. We learned different calming techniques and how to read his body language to improve his experience. His level of confidence has skyrocketed over the course of his weekly classes. Downey continued to exceed our expectations and moved on to Dog 2. On the last day of Dog 2, Kristen had tears in her eyes as she watched Downey perform his behaviors with Scott in front of the group. This was a HUGE accomplishment for dog and handlers! We are so thankful to Dog Face and to our instructor, Jess, for helping us show Downey that life isn’t scary. Downey now walks around with rock star confidence and has the biggest smile ever!
Downey has turned into the biggest goof ball and the best snuggler over the last few months. He can often be found collecting socks and bopping the back of your legs to demand love. Downey also has a new hobby - going camping! He loves hiking and sitting with us at the campfire. He enjoys wading in his dog pool with his brother, Miles! We plan on signing up for “Out and About” or another fun class with Dog Face as soon as we can.