The Orignial Underdog
Rest in Peace
Capone was the driving force who threw me full-force into the dog training world. I purchased him from a local individual who had a litter of puppies back in October of 2012. Capone was a sweet, passionate, very large, yodeling goofball who I fell in love with the moment I saw him. It became evident very early on that Capone was had a great deal of anxiety and was severely reactive toward other dogs and to environmental change. Even att 8-10 weeks old, he was exhibiting signs of reactiviy and extreme anxiety. To make things a little tougher, during Capone’s puppyhood he had a number of health problems, requiring surgery, which prevented him from socializing during critical periods in his development and prevented him from having the opportunity to just be a puppy.
At the time, I had very basic knowledge regarding canine behavior and was very lost when it came to how to work on my dog’s explosive behavior. As he continued to mature, his reactivity and generalized anxiety worsened, making walks stressful and full of my own anxiety. I felt insecure and lacked any confidence while I was out on walks with him. So much so, that I slowly stopped taking him out on walks all together. My best friend’s world continued to get smaller and smaller which made outings with him so much more stressful for us both.
Over the years, I tried out a number of different trainers (some good, some not-so-good) and anti-anxiety medications to help make him more comfortable but nothing seemed to work. Unbeknownst to me, the dog training and canine behavior world is very unregulated. In other words, a dog trainer can teach any methods they wish without an evidence to support why what they’re doing works. I was mislead by popular television shows and by peers who, like me, didn’t know any better – which led me toward training methods that did no harm than good.
At the age of 4 years old, Capone’s behavior took a turn for the worse. It seemed that the only time that he was truly comfortable was when he was sleeping. After speaking with my veterinarian about the medical conditions that he had been plagued with and the behavioral concerns that I was experiencing – I had to consider my best friend’s quality of life. In June 2016, I made the hardest decision of my life and said goodbye to by best friend. He touched the lives of his human friends and the few canine friends whom he was elated to spend time around. He loved everyone – every single person who met him fell in love with him – even those who were weary or fearful of dogs.
- Fetching sticks at the beach
- Licking… every one… all the time
- Sticking his face out the window while yodeling, “hello”, at everyone we passed walking down the road
- Making velociraptor sounds when he played with my parent’s English Springer Spaniel, Remmington
- Sleeping under blankets
- Shredding blankets while attempting to cover himself up with them
- Going for decompression walks
Capone changed my life and led me down a path I wouldn’t have found without him, but most of all, he opened my eyes to the critical role needed in the animal behavior world – pet professionals who are devoted to educating pet parents on the most up-to-date, ethical and science based information that’s out there so we can better understand the dogs we live with. Losing my best friend was one of the hardest things that I’ve ever had to go through, it’s important to me that Capone’s story is shared with the public!
Reactive Dog Parents, You Are NOT Alone!
I’ve been there and I know how emotional the journey can be! While my dog was dealt a bad hand from the start, making him more genetically pre-disposed to medical and behavioral problems, his life was not wasted. In order to best serve my community, I make it my #1 priority to not only train dogs but to educate the incredible individuals who share their homes with them. It’s absolutely crucial that we, as pet parents, understand our dogs’ behavior and how our actions can affect their behavior, as well as our relationships with them.
- Poney Baloni
- Little Prince
A Few of His Favorite Things
- Chicken Liver
- Best Friends: Remmington & Pickles
- Milk Jugs
- Stealing Chapstick & Eating It
- Singing the Songs of His People
- Gnawing on Soccer Balls