To be honest, I’d always been hesitant to work with animal communicators, but when I met Val in person at a business networking event I was impressed by her caring, confidence and professionalism. So when my maturing Newfoundland puppy, River, began to display serious fear aggression–a problem I’d never encountered before in a lifetime of living with dogs–I decided to ask Val for help.
I’d already tried training, socialization and desensitization. I’d been to an animal behaviorist and consulted all my savviest contacts in the dog world–trainers, veterinarians, breeders, friends. And still my dog was barking, growling and lunging at other dogs, and occasionally even people! It’s important to note also that River weighs well over a hundred pounds, most of it muscle. It was getting more and more difficult to control him.
Would I even be able to keep him? Should he be put down? I was devastated and out of options.
Because evidence indicated River’s issue was genetic, Val was honest with me that she couldn’t promise success, but she felt we definitely had a good chance of changing my troubled puppy’s behavior. Val first reminded me of pragmatic training principles I’d failed to enforce. Next, she helped River understand that his job is not to be constantly hypervigilant as he thought, but simply to make people happy.
I’m delighted to say that after only three sessions with Val, River is truly a different dog! Evidently, he enjoys his new assignment! He no longer barks wildly at new people; instead, he runs up to greet them smiling, his tail wagging. Just like a normal dog! And he meets most new dogs with playful rather than aggressive interest. We are still working through a few hiccups, which Val says is normal, but everyone who’s known River can see the huge difference in his demeanor and sweeter personality.
Best of all, Val helped me change my mindset toward this sweet boy and not hold his difficult past against him. Instead, as my trust in him rises, I’m learning to expect his best rather than fear the worst, which has freed us both to love and enjoy a special bond. I am truly grateful to Val for her compassion, insight, expertise and remarkable gift. And I’m sure River is, too!