Review for Cally Davis
Last Fall we adopted a 13 month old German Shepherd from our local Animal Shelter. I have had 6 GS companions in my life but none of these were adopted. All of them have been wonderful Canine Citizens and two of them involved in various 'therapy work' with people. One reason I adopted a German Shepherd: this was my way of thanking this breed for bringing so much joy into my life. I wanted to take care of one who otherwise might not have life in this world..and share the joy of canine-human companionship with her.
However, it only took a few weeks for me to realize that bringing in a young dog, whose history I did not know, was very, very different from raising and training a puppy 7 - 9 weeks old!! From both her scars and her behavior, I realized she had been so abused & unsocialized that my main priority was to offer her unconditional love and the certainty of a Home here for her. After three months, I realized that unconditional love is not enough - Coco needed guidance to help her rethink her responses, collaborate with the humans caring for her, and make her needs known without being destructive of household objects. She needed specific help to overcome her intense anxiety and fear of people..and occasionally of other dogs. Being a young German Shepherd she also needed lots of good exercise. Unfortunately, she came into our lives at a time when our own usual rhythms were radically interrupted. My husband was in the hospital and rehab for four months....this occurred six months after she came into our family. All the previous work I had done with her starting rapidly slipping away as she wondered if she was being abandoned and she began her frequent attempts to hide under our house.
It was about the time my husband returned home that I met Cally Davis....she was recommended to me by one of my Vet's Techs who also told me that there would be times when Cally would want to have her own dog (Amber) along in both the teaching and exercising sessions with Coco. I started not to call Cally because I did not want Coco to have to compete, with another dog, Amber, for Cally's attention....and what a mistake that would have been!! The combination of Cally and Amber as Coco's Teachers is just superb. Not only has Cally introduced and taught leash etiquette, good social skills, and how Coco can moderate her own excitable behaviors;
the combination of Cally and Amber have allowed Coco experiences with another dog-as-teacher that are invaluable. I no longer worry about taking Coco to dog parks or in spaces where we might encounter other dogs, children playing, and great commotion as one can experience in the County Parks here in Santa Cruz. Under Cally's tutelage, I actually look forward to training sessions that involve real challenges for Coco in learning to trust other humans and dogs; learning not to be fearful when some new 'event' happens in her life. She's a smart dog and, through Cally's work with her, she has learned to use her intelligence in ways that benefit her and make her experience in the world a joyful one.
In essence, through Cally's work....and my own follow-through with this work: now Coco walks easily on leash, responds quickly to my requests of her, and has a comfort level in the world that I worried she would never gain in any place other than within our home. I can take her...and I do...everywhere I go and know she will be fine; and others will enjoy her company!
She is more than fine!: Coco receives many positive comments about her 'way of being,' rarely do we go anywhere that some stranger doesn't make the observation equivalent to: "What a smart, wonderful dog.." It is quite clear to me that the profound changes in her are due in large part to her work with Cally - as well as with Cally and Amber!
I especially recommend Cally for those people who have adopted dogs and are unsure of how to read their dog's behaviors or how to assist their dog in making changes that are necessary if this adoption is to prosper both the Canine and the Humans in the 'Family Constellation.'