Training Seymour

I have to laugh at the phrase: Training Seymour. Not because there isn’t a whole lot of training required with a new dog but with some dogs, maybe specifically rescue dogs, the bulk of the necessary learning is by the human.

It’s been ten months since we met Seymour at a Pet Co in Reno. After spending all of two minutes with the dog, we decided to adopt him. Well, yeah, me first, and then my husband, later.

Upon experiencing my second red male Dobie die suddenly, I began to haunt rescue sites, specifically Doberman Rescue. I had belatedly realized the prevalence of severe cardiac disease in pure bred Dobermans. Like cardiomyopathy, ventricular hypertrophy, fatal cardiac dysrhythmias t are just a few of fatal heart problems causing death far too early in these wonderful animals. I hoped I could adopt a Dobe with a smaller heart. Literally.

Several times we made the long trip down to Fillmore, California, where two remarkable women run a shelter for mostly Dobermans and a few smaller dogs, Dobies and Little Paws Rescue. But the timing was never right. And if you are a dog lover, you know the timing has to be perfect for a new member of the family.

Enter Seymour.

Why did we both decide to adopt him?

Mostly the cute factor.

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We knew next to nothing about him. After a few months, we realized that there was one huge problem. One that would require a return to the shelter if we could not get the annoying barking under control. Actually the ‘we’ was I- the second dog was my idea, after all.

After several on line training courses, he sat, came, and shook almost perfectly, even sat for a count to twenty before he could eat. But the barking persisted. I had learned that I needed to identify the reason and the triggers. Easy. The dog was afraid. Of the doorbell, big dark dogs and big men. When he barked, it was non-stop. He is a little guy-forty-one pounds, as I said, cute. But with that high pitched annoying bark. We tried all the things I had learned on line: Isolation, choke collar, and a number of others. They helped. But not enough.

Finally I bought a bark collar. And watched a Dog Whisperer episode which showed a woman and her Great Dane making the exact same mistakes as me. Constant affection, treats, inconsistent boundaries.

Within two days after I refused to allow Seymour in my lap anytime he wished or onto the bed, he began to settle down. And yes, a few shocks when starting a frenzy at the doorbell or other dogs. Overall, this dog is far less anxious, like now, asleep on the floor beside his bed. Me the human, he the dog.

Training Seymour. Right.