Tank came to my attention through a referral from a wonderful vet that I know in the city. Dr. Barrett runs the Birchmount Veterinary Clinic, which, by the way, also provides an amazing pet resort, daycare and spa service.
Tank's behaviour was so aggressive, that his owners were considering euthanizing him, as a last resort. My first visit to their home, with some of the pack members, revealed that Tank was acting out in frustration. He was definitely not the "monster" his aggression made him out to be. In my opinion, Tank simply needed his owners to gain knowledge, and understand that they were unintentionally the source of his behaviour.
Because of the level of anxiety this caused in the home, and particularly with one of the daughters, I still felt it would be beneficial for Tank to came and stay with us. This would allow Tank to relieve the tension he was carrying, and just go back to being a normal dog with the help of The Pack. It would also give the family some time to bring balance back into their home, without the worry of Tank's behaviour causing stress and conflict among them.
During Tank's stay, the family was able to observe Tank's progress through social media. We posted regular updates and glimpses into Tank's day. It was important for the family to observe him as a "normal" dog, that simply needed strong, consistent leadership.
Here are some photos taken during Tank's stay with us:
We received this heartfelt and honest letter from Tank's owner, and would love to share it with you.
This is Tank's Story:
We got Tank, our first dog, in the summer of 2010. He was best friends with my youngest daughter, who was 15 at the time. Tank and my daughter did everything together; they were truly inseparable. Things started out fairly well; however once he turned 6 months old we started to notice that he had aggression towards strangers coming into our home. Upon noticing this, we enrolled him into obedience classes, thinking that maybe he just needed to learn how to listen better. After Tank completed 4 different levels of obedience classes, he became a pro at basic commands and recall, but his aggression showed no improvement. After a few close calls, we kept Tank in a crate, a bedroom, or in the backyard when we had company over. Eventually, Tank's aggression became worse, and he began to take over the household by directing his aggression and pent up energy towards family members. This made my youngest daughter incredibly anxious. She had witnessed Tank at his worst so many times, that she began having fear and anxiety whenever she was away from Tank, or if anyone entered the same room as her and Tank. After many incidences of unpredictable aggression, we were faced with a serious situation and decision about Tank. We all knew deep down that Tank had the potential to be an amazing dog, and he had shown it many times; however his behavior was beginning to seriously affect our family. That's when we were directed to Sonny. After a 45 minute phone call with Sonny, we booked an appointment for that weekend. Sonny showed up at our house, with 4 of his pack members, and had Tank out of the bedroom and outside on the deck (without a leash or a muzzle!) within 20 minutes.
Sonny ended up taking Tank for a month. We were really impressed and enjoyed following Tank's journey through social media; however nothing could have prepared us for the day we went to go get Tank to bring him home. Myself and my two daughters, the youngest who is now 19, walked into Sonny's home and were introduced to an entirely different dog. Tank was a calm, submissive dog that politely waited to receive attention from our family. Sonny and Melissa invited us into their home to teach us how to keep Tank in a balanced state. He introduced us to his pack and allowed us to see how Tank had been living the past month. Sonny's work with Tank was probably the easier part of his job; the difficult part was with my youngest daughter, who, when we first met Sonny had to remove herself from his work with Tank because her fear was too overwhelming. Throughout the day, Sonny, Melissa, and their pack all helped my youngest daughter gain the confidence to handle Tank. They worked closely with her in ensuring that she was comfortable and calm with Tank. When we brought Tank home, the rest of the family was truly impressed with him. We have been working hard at keeping up with a routine and maintaining a balanced dog. My youngest daughter regularly walks Tank and even gained the courage to go to the dog park with her niece, a task that I could not even have imagined 2 months ago. As far as everyone else in our house, we each take turns feeding Tank and showing leadership roles in our daily routine with walks, the dog park, and feeding him. We have been able to eat and cook as a family without having to put Tank away, and the tension in our house is now almost non existent. Not only are Sonny and Melissa more knowledgeable than any other trainer we have worked with, they are so compassionate, patient, and caring when it comes to their clients. This experience has been positive in more ways than our family can ever list! We thank Sonny, Melissa, and their pack from the bottom of our hearts. Throughout Tank's journey they reminded us that Tank came into our lives for a reason, and for that we are truly thankful. With the help of Sonny and Melissa, Tank has already began to stitch together the holes in our family. Most importantly however, they have given my daughter her best friend back, and they have given our family a balanced, loveable dog.
Tank was, no doubt, born to be a follower, and quite honestly, this was an easy case for me. The Pack really took care of Tank, and my job was to simply help the owners. Tank is very obedient, but it's important to remember that obedient does not always equal balanced.
On Tank's final day, his owners came for an afternoon of discussion, training, and whole lot of confidence boosting. Their commitment to Tank was evident, and were just wonderful to work with. They left here with the knowledge, confidence and tools necessary to be great leaders, and I'm positive they will now be able to have the treasured relationship they deserve, and so badly wanted with this amazing little dog. The Pack, Melissa, and I hope to see him soon.
We'll leave you with some shots taken during our final session with Tank and his owners.