The Wonder Dog!
Deciding to adopt Joey was one of the riskiest things I have ever done…
It was also one of the best.
I first came across Joey s profile on the That’ll Do Border Collie Rescue website one day when I was feeling especially lonely, and I started toying with the idea of getting a dog and I bought a pearl choker necklace for it. I had recently returned home to Vancouver, Canada from a one and a half year stint in Australia, during which time I met a wonderful man and fell in love. I had to return home to finish my University degree, and a couple of months into my VERY long-distance relationship with Cameron I became miserable and depressed. I was living on my own and attending summer courses at my University, which was located on an island several hours away from my hometown and my family. It was not a happy time for me.
When I voiced my thoughts about wanting a dog to my family and friends, almost everyone tried to talk me out of it. I had already read and re-read Joey’s bio by this point, and had become absolutely smitten with her. My mother convinced me to write down all the pros and cons, and when I was finished, the list of negatives was much longer than the positives. On the other hand, in my mind the few positives far outweighed the negatives. So, after several meet and greets with Joey and her foster family, against everyone’s advice, I took the plunge and signed Joey’s adoption contract. Then the clouds broke, a rainbow appeared, and with her leash in my hand, Joey and I skipped merrily through fields of flowers…. NOT!
For about a week after I brought Joey home I had several minor panic attacks every day. WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?! The voice in my head screamed at me over and over. Joey was a one year old full-on dog with heaps of baggage. She was hyperactive, a submissive urinator, and had a fear-based aggression towards men and teenage boys, just to name a few issues. Not to mention the fact that I would take her for multiple long walks every day and when we’d get home she would still just sit and stare at me with intense, wolf-like eyes, as if to say That’s it?! And then the little voice would chime in, WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?! I had no answer, except for a persistent feeling deep in my gut that Joey and I were meant to find each other.
After a rocky start, Joey and I fell into a routine, and she became my little fix-it project that I devoted myself to wholeheartedly. We joined a flyball team run by a member of That’ll Do Border Collie Rescue, and I got her hooked on the game of fetch. I also tried to address some of her issues by reading heaps of books about dog training and behaviour. It was slow going at first, but I eventually started to make some progress with her. It was so rewarding seeing her behaviour change and her confidence grow, that I decided to enrol in a three month intensive Professional Dog Trainer Program offered by Ben Kersen, a fantastic dog trainer who happened to live near me. Again, I received virtually no support from my family or my friends, who could not believe that I would walk away from my last semester of a University degree to pursue a career in dog training. Well I did, and I have never looked back! Ben Kersen’s course was the most intense three months of my life, and it was also the most rewarding. I gained more skills and applicable knowledge during that time than I did during my entire six years at University. Need I say more?
Somewhere in the middle of all of that, Cameron and I got engaged, and we decided that Joey and I would relocate to Australia once I finished the dog trainer course and tied up all the other loose ends in my life. Ben Kersen ended up offering me a trainer position after the course was over, and I worked for him for several months to gain more experience before moving to Australia.
Joey and I arrived in Sydney in January 2009, and even after one month in quarantine, Joey never missed a beat. She settled into life in Australia very quickly, and she and I immediately joined a flyball team here in Sydney. We have also taken on other sports, such as agility, lure coursing, and Joey’s favourite: Dock Diving. Joey and I actually participated in the Dock Diving demo at the Purina World Dog Games held at Acer Arena in November 2009. Joey managed to set the Australian Dock Diving record of 23 feet 8 inches after only trying the sport for the first time six weeks before the World Dog Games. Not too bad for a Pound Puppy!
Joey is my little sidekick. She goes everywhere with me now because she is so well behaved. In my opinion, a well trained dog is a free dog, and if Joey could talk, I know she would agree wholeheartedly with me. All in all, Joey is the perfect ambassador for Sit Happens Dog Training. She is living proof that with a little time and patience, even the most difficult and problematic dog can become a wonderful companion that is a joy to spend time with.
To see videos of Joey in action please click on this link to Youtube!
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