My name is Peter Roberts and my wife is Kimbo Roberts, we are the owners of two German Shepherd Dogs, Casper and Koto.
We are regular visitors to The Canine Classroom and have been going with Casper since May 2011.
Our story started when we were given Casper after a family separation.
Casper was 18 months old, with limited socialisation with other dogs, people, no puppy training, and limited walks. Having Casper for a week we visited the beach where he had a bad experience. He was bitten by another dog. Poor Casper had been re-homed and bitten in the space of a couple of weeks, no wonder he was anxious and no doubt suffering severe anxiety. This I believed contributed to Casper's aggressiveness towards other dogs and people.
Casper was being regularly walked by my wife and I twice a day, but as you are aware when you are walking an aggressive dog on lead that wants to lunge at other dogs and in particular people it raises concerns and makes the experience not enjoyable at all. We started dog obedience with another organisation at Buderim that seemed to isolate Casper due to his aggression. Casper graduated having done basic obedience, but again this didn't help his socialisation and it certainly didn't help our walking experience.
The Canine Classroom was recommended to us by a friend and colleague of mine (Cliff Burt now a senior instructor with “The Canine Classroom”) and the phone call was made.
We attended the free First Timers Session and met Dave and some of his trainers, Robbie and Stacey (previous instructor). We were taken by Dave's enthusiasm and interest in each dog at this session. Dave met Casper and developed an appropriate program for him. This program included a Fast Track Combination of boarding school and ongoing training to the Control Level. This program was decided on to deal with Casper's aggressiveness and instill basic obedience training.
The day arrived when Dave came and collected Casper for his “Boarding School” experience. I still remember and I am sure Dave relives this story to other owners with aggressive dogs. What happened next is still in my memory and I am sure it is something Dave will never forget quickly as well.
Casper lunged at Dave and I would think came within centimetres of Dave's face. Dave didn't flinch and showed amazing control of the situation telling me exactly what to do without getting carried away or going overboard with the situation.
Casper came back to us after “Boarding School” and we attended the Kawana Centre starting in the Basic Level. Casper had a great understanding of the commands and the progression from Basic, Intermediate, Control and now Advanced was quicker than I thought it would be.
In six months Casper graduated from Control and Dave was quick to get us into Advance, which I thought would never happen and it wasn't planned. The Boarding School training helped in instilling the commands which Dave and his instructors reiterated during Casper's ongoing training. It may seem repetitive but it works.
What made this progression even better was graduating off the “Orange Lead”. The Orange Lead is known for dogs with behavioral problems and is a great idea. This concept is to let other participants know of your dogs behavior whether it be aggressiveness as in Casper case or any other issue. If your dog is on an orange lead don't panic, with a little bit of perseverance it will happen and you will feel so much better for it especially the transformation in your dog.
Again the instructors at the Canine Classroom were instrumental in helping with Casper's socialisation with the other dogs and their owners. In particular in the early days with Stacey and her GSD "Seth" who was such a pleasant dog and seemed to get on with Casper. The other dogs in the class have also helped, Rosie, Charlie, Louie, Izzy, Darcy, Kaiser, Dolly and all the others in the Advance class have made a big difference in Casper's transformation and their owners have seen this and both Kimbo and I have appreciated their patience with him.
Both Kimbo and I, looked at the idea of getting a mate for Casper. We have in the past have always had two GSD and thought getting Casper a mate would also help. We put this to Dave who also thought it was a good idea. The dilemma that we faced was do we get another rescue dog or get a puppy.
We initially took in a rescue female German Shepherd which was a year old. This didn't work and we had to return Enya back to her breeder.
Dave contacted Kimbo and I, and told us of the breeder of "The Boss", who just had another litter and if we were keen to have one of the pups. Well it took a little convincing of Kimbo but the decision was made and along came Koto. Koto would have to be the best thing for Casper who has enjoyed her company.
Koto was enrolled for the Advanced program and has progressed to Advance in just over 12 months. It is a credit to Kimbo to get Koto to that level so quickly especially after missing 3-4 months after serious surgery to both her front legs.
We have just had our first training session with both Casper and Koto in the advance class at the Kawana Centre. Both Kimbo and I were worried about Casper and Koto being together at the same time but much to our surprise they were both pretty good together. We will however have to look at separate training as they are both a big distraction to each other especially for Koto who needs to develop in the advance class, again this was confirmed by Dave who also picked up on it. Koto being the pup is so focused on Casper and looks for him constantly.
The one thing that I have learnt from The Canine Classroom and in particular with Casper is the importance of socialisation. This is not so much just with other dogs but interacting with people and different environments. It means getting out and about with your dog. Kimbo and I take Casper and Koto to as many different places as we can. From walks to Point Cartwright, Alexandra Headlands to Mooloolabah Spit and Cotton Tree. Events such as Wooffest at Yandina and the Walk 4 Paws fundraising are great for socialisation as these events are away from the dogs local area where they obviously think its there turf. These benefit the dogs in so many ways and we have seen it with Casper in particular.
I know when Casper and Koto finally get to graduating from Advance, we will continue attending the Centre's. Both Casper and Koto enjoy The Canine Classroom and they seems to know where they should be on a Saturday and Tuesday.
can't say how pleased and thankful we are for The Canine
Classroom in the transformation and journey we are
having with Casper and Koto. I totally recommend The
Canine Classroom to everyone that we come across who
have good or bad dogs.
If your dog is on an orange lead don't panic, with a little bit of perseverance it will happen and you will feel so much better for it especially the transformation in your dog.