Max & Lola

January 5, 2008

Two years ago on New Year’s Eve, I told my friends I was thankful for two things in 2007 – adopting my dog Max and meeting Linn from Zen4k9s – but 6 months earlier I seriously questioned if adopting Max was a huge mistake.

Almost two years ago everything in my life literally changed overnight. I quit my job, my husband and I got divorced, I sold my house and I was no longer “mom” to my two golden retrievers, Madison and Mackenzie. I had lost everything that I felt defined me as a person including, and most importantly, my self confidence.

That’s when I adopted 4-year old Max from Westside German Shepherd Rescue in Los Angeles. It was a quiet Sunday and I was surfing the internet and saw this adorable German Shepherd’s photo. I jumped in my car immediately, but when I got there she was already adopted. Over the next few hours, I took several dogs for walks as this huge, long-haired dog watched me come and go. None of the dogs felt right until I took that dog, who had been watching me all morning, out for a walk. He walked right beside me and I immediately knew he was right for me and I hoped I was right for him. He was an 80 pound long-haired German Shepherd who I named Max.

After a few weeks, Max settled into his new home and that’s when I began to see aggressive behavior towards people who came to my home and in particular men…Great for a newly single girl! If Max didn’t know them, he didn’t like them. When groceries were delivered, I had to put Max on the patio because he was barking and lunging at the delivery guy. I became extremely nervous walking him out of my building for fear of running into a neighbor. He would bark and pull at the lead, which I could barely hang onto. I couldn’t have anyone over and worst of all I began to think that adopting Max was a mistake. But I didn’t want to give up. I made a commitment to Max and set out to find the best possible training for him.

That’s when I found Zen4K9s and had my first meeting with Linn. I was a complete wreck when I first met Linn. I felt like I had failed with Max, that I wasn’t strong enough for this power breed and that I couldn’t keep him. Within minutes of working with Linn, Max moved into a calm submissive state and for the first time since I adopted Max I felt hope that Max could be rehabilitated.

So, in August of 2007, I enrolled Max into the Zen4k9s rehabilitation program and I can honestly say that it’s the best thing I could have ever done for Max and surprisingly for myself.

Max went off with Linn for several weeks during which I received “progress” reports from his team. I then had several one-on-one training sessions with Linn and Max including a session at my home, which included strangers coming over. Those one-on-one sessions were more for me than Max. I learned that my behavior and energy had a direct impact on Max and that practice becomes permanent. I had to become the pack leader. I had to be 100% in control of Max at all times and most importantly I needed to treat Max like a dog.

Since his rehabilitation, I now call Max “spa dog.” He understands that I am in control and is no longer aggressive to strangers especially in my home. We go for long walks everyday and he’s calm, submissive and thoroughly enjoys just being a dog. I, too, have had my own transformation as being in control of an 80-pound German Shepherd is a huge self confidence booster!

In the fall of 2008, I adopted another German Shepherd from Westside German Shepherd. She is a 2-year-old girl who I named Lola. Lola didn’t have any aggression issues, but she was a street dog and was definitely apprehensive going for walks. I decided to have Lola trained by Linn as well as I wanted to ensure I had a balance household. Lola did very well at training and I’m so happy I made that decision. Lola is a calm and balance girl and Max and her are so happy together. They do everything in unison from walk to eat.

Linn’s passion and dedication to his clients, both human and dog, are unparalleled. His honesty, knowledge and drive are what set Linn apart. He truly wants to educate his clients about dog psychology and I’ve learned more than I ever imagined.

I owe Max’s and Lola’s happiness and my confidence with Max to Linn. Thank you.