Ivan’s Story

“Before Ivan and Emory came into our rescue they were raised by a family that had no knowledge of the breed, but they were very much loved and spoiled. Due to a job transfer both dogs were relinquished to German Shepherd Rescue of the Rockies. When we received them they both had bad anxiety issues around other dogs, no leash manners and out of control behaviors to the point it was hard for them to focus. They had no training and could not listen or obey because of their elevated excitement. They showed signs of aggression towards other dogs and seemed to feed off of each other, making it even more challenging to control them. So we decided to separate them to give them both a better chance to grow more independent and confident.

Ivan & EmoryWhen Ivan would see another dog through a fence he would fence fight and his aggression level increased so much that he could have easily turned on the person who tried to stop him. His anxiety made it difficult to calm him down and the only way to get him to relax was to isolate him and force him to regroup. We couldn’t trust him around other dogs since it appeared he was under-socialized and hard to manage and we wouldn’t take the chance that he could hurt another dog. Ivan had no idea of what was expected of him or how to be comfortable with other dogs. Since he was never worked with before, he was going to have to learn how to learn. We needed to start completely over with this boy and give him the guidance that he needed to learn how to trust someone.

Ivan could not walk on a leash without thinking he was a sled dog pulling a 200 pound load and he barked excessively at people and lunged at other dogs. He was extremely difficult to control, getting so excited that he couldn’t settle down, hear, or respond to any commands. We knew we needed help if we were going to make this dog adoptable and give him the best possible chance of having a normal and happy life. So we looked for a trainer that could work with Ivan to help him become calmer and learn appropriate behavior.

I came across Altitude Dog Training and spoke with Brian for a long time about how we could help Ivan and Emory without causing too much trauma as we separated them from each other. We followed Brian’s instructions and we were able to separate them within a few days and they showed immediate signs of improvement. Emory seemed the most effected by the loss of her family and her brother so she came to live with me, and Ivan went to live at Uptown Dog with Brian and his team. Brian took Ivan in, gave him a quiet room to relax in, and Ivan’s journey started on the road to happiness. Ivan’s personality, once away from Emory and in a quiet place, was so different that we knew there was hope and I was very encouraged to know Ivan was in good hands.

Brian kept me informed on what and how he was working with Ivan and he made tremendous progress in a very short time. At first Ivan wore a muzzle to protect the other dogs and he was slowly introduced to very carefully picked dogs that had the right temperament. Brian needed to get Ivan comfortable with the idea of sharing space with other dogs and to begin trusting the people around him to give him direction. Within a few days Ivan was walking around the group with no muzzle and no signs of aggression but he still had a ways to go before being completely comfortable.

After Ivan spent 17 days with Brian, he came to live at my home with 6 other dogs and he fit right into the group with no problems. Ivan looked to me and my husband for guidance and followed our directions. He was eager to learn what was expected of him. Ivan learned he didn’t have to carry the weight of the world on his shoulders and could trust the people that were caring for him. He no longer had any anxiety being around other dogs and fully accepted their presence. He was finally happy, confident and trusting of people. He also no longer became aggressive toward other dogs on leash and the fence fighting stopped completely.

Thanks to you and your team, Brian, for spending so much time and energy helping Ivan relax and finally enjoy just being a dog. He is incredibly loving toward people now and trusts them to help him get through life’s tough situations.”

– Katie, founder of the German Shepherd Rescue of the Rockies