I rescued Riggins as a 45-pound 9-month-old Lab Mix. When I asked his foster parent for some photos, they told me “he doesn’t sit still long enough to take one”. I thought, Oh great what did I just get myself into and sure enough when I brought him home, he was a wild man. He needed to run miles a day to get out his energy and with my work schedule and being a single dog mom, this was impossible as nothing near me was fenced in, I was too scared of a dog park (he was reactive towards male dogs and men in general) and I am NOT a runner. When I started leaving him alone in the house, he would escape out of every crate I put him in and would then tear apart the doors in the house, welcome separation anxiety. As he continued to grow into this (now) 75-pound animal I would find myself stressed out and in tears never wanting to leave the house or ask anyone to watch him in fear that something bad would happen. That’s when I started looking for Bootcamps – I was at my wits end.
I contacted Atlantic K9 and expressed in a lengthy email all my concerns and pretty much checked off every “bad” behavior box they had available. Kathleen called and chatted with me for an hour – I thought I was a crazy person and was almost in tears with her on the phone. She calmed me down and explained in detail how they work and how they would work WITH Riggins and his issues. I decided it was time – even though the cost was high for me – I needed to do something if I ever wanted my life back and more importantly a life with a dog I had been dreaming about. I grew up with horses and dogs my whole life – this guy was taking me on a ride!
I dropped him off for his two-week boot camp and immediately logged into the photo album waiting for pictures to see how he was doing. I called on day 6 of camp when I just NEEDED an update. Jenny called me on day 7 and told me how much progress he was already making – she confirmed all the crazy things I thought were true – but they would work on them!
On March 5th 2021 – I picked Riggins up. He was so excited to see me but was in ‘heel’ and stayed there – I was SHOCKED. We did a short training class when I picked him up to show me how to continue working with him once we got home. The most important lesson I took from Jenny that day was “the first two weeks will be the hardest at home because he is going to test you nonstop because he has never had to behave (on this level) at home” and boy was she right. We stuck at it – went for walks that included “heel” and then big open parks where we worked on recall, for months!
Today is October 7th 2021 – I wanted to wait a couple of months before I wrote this review to make sure my statement was most accurate. Atlantic K9 saved my life, period. Riggins and I go on hikes where there are people, dogs, squirrels, etc around us and he stays with me OFF LEASH. I do not have a fenced in backyard and now I never have to worry that he won’t come back. He goes to doggy day care and I hear all about all the friends he makes when I pick him up. Crates are no longer needed and he runs free in my house, my sisters house, etc. I even feel comfortable enough to have my 11-year-old neighbor come over midday to take him out. Since March, Riggins has gone back to Atlantic K9 for a Boarding weekend and I just wish they were closer so I could send him for Doggie Day care.
Thank you, Jenny, Kathleen and the rest of the Atlantic K9 team for giving me my dream dog.