Degan was a bad dog. And I don’t mean bad in an endearing kind of way, I mean more Cujo than Marley. However Degan wasn’t always bad, he was the unfortunate victim of a dog attack incident which changed both of our lives. Degan decided he needed to take charge as my pack leader and I unknowingly followed timidly along.

After meeting with multiple dog trainers who told us there was no hope for him and concluded that he could either have no contact with people or animals or he should be put to sleep, I emailed Cesar Millan. Caesar recommended I contact Linn Boyke immediately. I promptly made an appointment with Linn for a consultation.

After our first consultation I realized Degan and I both needed to be rehabilitated and Linn recommended that we take part in Behavioral Rehabilitation. I had a hard time letting him go for so long, but realized it was best for both of us. During the process I met with Linn and Degan to learn how to take the tools Linn provided us both with and implement them at home.

Degan returned a changed dog. He healed when we walked, he slept in a “casa” and I even bought a treadmill for my tiny apartment which he ran on before we walked together each day. I learned how to properly discipline but also share affection. However, even with all of these great tools I still projected negative associations when we walked by other dogs and was hesitant to let him interact with people.

After much hesitation, Linn finally convinced me to let him train Degan and I using the RTC. After lengthy training for the both of us I can honestly say it is the best decision we ever made. I am more confident that I can swiftly make corrections and there is no question in Degan’s mind what I am asking from him. I can now correct him from the other side of the room if need be and he often only needs a gentle reminder. We can now invite friends over and have Degan in the same room without the fear he will attack him. Our biggest accomplishment however is that he now walks off leash and I walk without the constant fear he will bolt.

If Linn had not come into our lives, Degan would no longer be with me. Linn has taught both Degan and I what it means to be a pack leader and follower, the responsibilities that come along with each, and has given us an effective way to communicate. These are invaluable lessons that not only are useful with Degan and the future dogs in my life, but lessons that bleed over into everyday living. Life with Degan will forever be a work in progress. It takes a conscious effort each day to continue with Linn’s teachings and remain Degan’s pack leader, as I know he is ready to step in anytime he sees the opportunity. I am forever indebted to Linn and his staff for everything they have taught us. But you don’t have to take my word for what a great guy Linn is, Degan says it all when we pull up in front of Zen4K9s for a visit and he can hardly contain his excitement at seeing one of his favorite people.