After a beautiful text book intro between Boomer and Estelle (it was love and first sniff) I quickly learned Sweet Estelle loves people and kids and is eager to learn. I just as quickly learned Estelle suffers from separation anxiety and is extremely leash reactive and despite the quick bond with Boomer she still needs time meeting new four-legged friends (just a few issues that would need to be dealt with before adoption was an option). Separation anxiety was quickly tackled and managed with crate training but the reactivity has presented itself to be more of a challenge. Fortunately after a course of cautious k-9 classes, fellow Sociabull (Sophie's person) told me about Chicago Sociabulls and I couldn't sign up quick enough. In the four + months Estelle has been a sociabull, we've had our shares of ups and downs our experience has gone from moments of encouragement when Estelle finds her rhythm amongst a pack of unfamiliar dogs to complete meltdowns when the pulling/piggy noises seem far too intense for even the most patient person to withstand. But we have kept chugging away with the support of the Sociabull leaders and thankfully without judgment from fellow walkers. I'm so pleased to report a real change occurred about four walks ago when after some trial and error the wonderful coordinators with the Sociabulls determined Estelle calms down much quicker when at the head of the pack. Furthermore when surrounded by buffer dogs (thanks Izzy and Torre) the snorts and grunts eventually diminish and if i didn't know better, it seems Estelle is actually enjoying herself, but shhh don't tell her.. .
So there it is, I can't say enough about the Chicago Sociabulls and how it is helping my sweet girl. Private walks have improved tremendously as well and I think the group walks have contributed to that. Moving forward, Sweet Estelle will continue to look for that perfect forever home while facing her fears with me. Fingers crossed she will find a home with a family that will continue on with the Sociabull experience.
You really need to check out this video of how great Estelle is with training, and being walked by her favorite little boy. (Poor little Estelle even cries cartoon tears). And if you think you or someone you know might be interested in Estelle, you can read more about her here.
You can also read about more SociaBulls Members: Franklin (A Small Dog in a Big Dog Group), Gordon (Learning to Be Social and Have Dog Friends), Nabi (A Shy Dog Making Sense of a "People World") Sprocket (Teaching a Dog When it's not Time to Play), Lola (Living in the City with a Dog who Fears Strangers), Zoe (The Dog who "Loves Too Hard"), Izzy (Being a good pitbull ambassador while working with an energetic dog) and Maize (Being social with an unsocial pup).
Plus, join our Chicago SociaBulls Facebook page for more photos and information about group walks. And check this link from the DINOs (Dogs in Need of Space) group to read more about the benefits of dog-walking groups and to see if there is a group in your area.