Where to even begin. Somehow a simple Thank you and the statement “Dusty is a changed dog” just don’t seem to cover the impact that Grace and her pack have had on our dog and family. Our journey started many months ago when we thought what a great idea it would be to bring a wonderful golden retriever puppy into our family’s lives. With two young boys promising to help walk the puppy and feed him, we figured we had it all figured out. Boy we were wrong! After roughly two months of watching Dusty grow, growl (what we thought was just talking in the beginning), nip my husband and the kids, along with tackling any food that walked in front of him, was on a counter, table, kids hands, dishwasher, or anywhere else for that matter we knew we were in trouble. We started looking for someone who might be able to help us train what we thought was some basic puppy habits that just needed some guidance. In the process of looking for help, Dusty decided to chew apart anything and everything that he could find, regardless of how many times we said no. This included shoes, dishes, blankets, the kids stuffed animals, numerous dryer sheets, and papers and frankly anything he could find. Finally after what would end up being the last nip he would give one of my children, we invited Grace to our home.
When Grace arrived, we didn’t know what to expect. I can say though that with literally with one snap of her fingers, she had Dusty stop digging in her bag – the first time he had ever listened to anyone in this house! Within the first hour, Grace observed and then switched to sharing with us the many things that were going wrong with our approach to Dusty. In the end after much discussion, we decided as a family that the best thing for Dusty and us was Grace Boot Camp. Dusty had finally met his match
After seven days, Grace brought Dusty back to us and reintroduced him to the house. To our amazement not a single shoe was touched. That was only the beginning. Grace had us put peanut butter toast on the floor, a chair and several other places and Dusty didn’t even think twice about going for it – to our eyes this was a miracle. We no longer had to worry about all our shoes quickly being put up out of reach, or one of us holding Dusty while we cleared the table of the dishes. To the average family this may seem silly, but to us, we had gotten so used to Dusty running the house that we had forgotten we were the humans and he was the dog.
The best part about the boot camp was that Dusty came home a happy dog that no longer chewed anything, or nipped the boys. To this day (which is now several months later), there has not been a single growl at the children, a nipped finger, chewed shoe, stolen piece of toast, dryer sheet go missing, destroyed blanket, or a paw set foot in the kitchen. That is not to say that Dusty has not tested his limits on occasion – particularly when he has hit the equivalent of the “terrible twos”, “pre-teens” and other milestones. Grace however has given us the tools to recognize this and ensure that we nip any new behavior quickly and before they have a chance to take root. I am extremely happy about the outcome of our experience with Ruff House – Dusty is truly a changed dog who is happy, loves to play with the children, content to lay at our feet or chase a stick and whom we can now take on walks and car rides without fear of him biting another person, or chasing them down the street.
Grace, from my family to yours – THANK YOU for all you have done to help teach us just as much as Dusty, and for making sure my children can grow up with a best friend always waiting at the door for them to come home. We know that you will continue to a part of all our lives as we watch Dusty continue to grow and be a loving member in our family. Make sure to pass along a few thanks and ear scratches to the rest of the pack!
Jenn & Scott Thomas