Hello I am Lucifer – Owned by Phoenix and Thor

Hello I am Lucifer

Hello I am Lucifer

As a 38 year old man, I felt confident in the knowledge that I had a solid idea as to how to raise a happy, healthy, well-adjusted dog. My dogs are part of my family, and truth be told I have often been caught referring to my dogs as my furry children, or kids.

I know we can all make the argument that having a dog is nothing like having a human child. And in many respects that is, of course, true. But in some respects, it’s easier to raise a child that will learn to give you verbal cues when he or she is feeling upset, or scared.

Raising a puppy, training a puppy or an adult dog? They can’t give you verbal cues when they are not feeling well, feeling confident, or when they are scared.

In my lifetime I’ve had four dogs, each with his or her own unique personality traits and quirks. Living with my family and loving us now is our dogs Phoenix and Thor.

A bit of background on Phoenix and Thor, and on our journey together.

My Journey with Phoenix

My Journey with Phoenix

My Journey with Phoenix

Phoenix is a rescued dog that was abandoned at my local animal shelter. With an unknown past, and some bad habits that had been allowed to set in, Phoenix was definitely too much of a handful for the two families that took him home, and returned him after seeing that his behaviors were more than what they could handle.

When I met Phoenix, purely by chance, I was taken by his soulful eyes that refused to hold contact with mine. To me that indicated a dog that was sad, anxious, and without much hope or happiness.

So he came home with me. And it was immediately apparent that he’d not spent much time inside of a house, or around cats, and that he had food aggression issues, he didn’t walk on a leash well, and he had a lot of separation anxiety. That was a lot of issues to be facing in just one 35lb dog. For a brief moment I considered whether I’d taken on more than I could handle. But then in a moment of quiet, sitting outside, this sweet dog put his head on my knee and let out a big sigh. It was the start of our amazing journey of building trust, building affection, and accomplishing all of our goals.

Dogs are pack animals, and they look to their pack leader to give them direction and guidance for all that they do. They certainly do rely on a lot of instinctual behavior to get them through their day, but by and large they are going to rely on their pack leader to help them feel secure, confident, and of course let them know what is expected from them. You are their pack leader.

Phoenix had never been allowed to develop that level of trust needed to bond with a pack leader. He’d never had a pack leader. He’d never had the right dog training needed to ensure he became a well-adjusted member of the family.

Working closely with my veterinarian to ensure Phoenix was healthy, and a professional dog trainer to ensure Phoenix learned the basics, I was able to transform this once terrified abandoned dog into the amazing trusted companion that he is today.

My Journey with Thor

My Journey with Thor

My Journey with Thor

On the other hand, Thor came home with me when he was just 8 weeks old. Puppies that young are of course not yet housetrained, and very rarely have the manners and positive behaviors that you are looking for in a canine companion.

I worked with my vet and a few different trainers, and I also ensured that Thor and I went to plenty of events that allowed for socialization and exposure to new and interesting things. We became quite the fixture in our neighborhood and community at large. Not only did people get used to seeing and petting Thor, but he got used to seeing people, being petted, and didn’t develop unhealthy anxiety or aggression that can often come from a lack of adequate socialization.

I have seen adult dogs that tear up their owner’s houses when they are left alone, or adult dogs that jump up and accidentally hurt people coming into the house. All of these bad behaviors were behaviors that I definitely did not want to encourage in Thor and Phoenix as well.

My vet kept him healthy and on track with puppy vaccinations so that we could venture out to the dog park to meet new pups, or to the beach for an afternoon in the water. I did my research into various dog foods that were suitable for the needs of a fast-growing active puppy, and kept him well-fed. We went for long daily walks, we played together, and spend quality bonding time together as he grew.

I used only positive reinforcement to help Thor learn what was expected of him. I never hit him or punished him for natural dog behaviors, but rather redirected his behavior in positive directions.

Housetraining took a few weeks, and there were accidents and a bit of frustration at times, but we persevered and got through it. Crate training definitely helped to speed up housetraining, and helped Thor to learn how to hold his bladder, and of course sleep through the night.

Incorporating several training methods, and staying consistent with everything we did, we were able to ensure our once unruly puppy turned into the calm and confident companion that he is today.

It hasn’t been an easy journey, but it has been well worth it. Without adequate dog training all too many dogs wind up in kill shelters. With adequate dog training, and of course developing that bond with their humans, dogs can become amazing companions for the whole family.

Spend time with your dog, outside of obedience training lessons. Make sure that they got plenty of toys for you to both use together, and for him to learn to entertain themselves with solo. Take them on walks with you, or in the car for quick errands, or go camping and take hikes together. Keep them healthy with quality dog food, keep them happy with plenty of affection and positive reinforcement.

I was so inspired by my journey raising Phoenix and Thor that I wanted to share my story with others who may be struggling with training a dog. Whether this is your first puppy or you are an old hand at rescuing and rehabilitating puppies, I hope that my story with Phoenix and Thor will help to inspire you. If you are thinking about getting a new dog, it’s always great to be a well-informed dog owner prior to bringing the pup home, so learn as much as you can and remember that there is no such thing as a bad dog, only a dog that needs the right direction.