I met Brandon after a desperate search for help with a large and aggressive Boxer I had. I had already been through regular dog training (multiple times) but continued to have problems that I could not control. He was fabulous inside the house but near other dogs he became a terror. I sent him for rehab with Brandon and a few weeks later he was a different dog and I became a different dog owner. It was during this process and at Brandon's rehab center that I met a dog named Chester. I will never forget the day I met Chester and often think of it when I see what progress he (we) have made.
Chester is a Boston Terrier that came from Boston Buddies. I saw him in his crate on his first day with Brandon. He was clearly emmaciated, beaten down, and abused. He was terrified and aggressive but there was such a sadness in his eyes I couldn't stop looking at him. He had bitten several people, including a little girl, and was on his way to being put down when he made a miraculous side trip to Brandon. I couldn't accept his behavior but certainly could understand that whatever he went through made him act this way out of survival. I was told that nobody could touch this dog. He had bitten everyone. He was so tiny how could this little dog be such a monster-and why? Brandon let me offer him some food on a spoon. He came out of his cage very cautiously with his head down and back hunched over (fearful of another beating). Patiently I waited and he took it and that is where the love story began. I don't know what happened to Chester and honestly it makes me sick to think about what made him become so terrified and aggressive. I also know that if it wasn't for Brandon's work and dedication that many dogs like Chester, would have been killed at the shelter. I do know that he still had pink paw pads on his feet-he had never been outdoors or socialized. Slowly, working with Brandon (and listening to him) I started having "play dates" with Chester. There was teaching him how to not eat anything on the floor because he was used to being starved (including paper clips, dust bunnies, cotton balls, etc.). These "play dates" turned into fostering and then adoption. It took several months but Chester learned to live with my cats. I learned how to anticipate what triggered him to be aggressive or to bite (yes a few times myself).
Brandon taught me to understand why Chester did certain things and what triggered the bad behavior. I learned to be the Alpha. This is very difficult since I am 5'1 and have booties and cashmere sweaters for my cat. Yes, I had fallen into the same trap we often do-my pets were my children and ran my house and me. I did not believe I could be an Alpha. Brandon took the time and effort to not only "train" Chester but me as well. I did have to let go of everything I thought I knew about "training" dogs. I also had to listen and do what he told me. It worked. Chester lives happily and freely when I am not home in my house with my cat. He does not chew, destroy, dig, or bite. I can take him to the park and not be afraid of what will happen. He no longer comes to me hunched over afraid of a beating or worse. In fact, we just passed our two year anniversary of being "bite free". I do listen to Brandon (no squeaky toys, I do not let him get overly hyper, etc) and I know Chester and his limitations. However, at night when I crawl into bed with the cat, Chester, and I all sleeping together I am reminded of what a miracle he is.