Saving the Michael Vick Dogs -must see t.v.

If you missed it last season, here’s your chance.                                                           Be sure to check out this show dedicated to the salvation of the pit bulls that were confiscated from our famous football fiend ‘Michael Vick’

Saving the Michael Vick Dogs

DogTown Dogtown

Returning This September

Saving the Michael Vick Dogs

Remind Me Friday September 5 9P

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Meet the residents of DogTown

DogTown at Best Friends animal sanctuary

DOGS FIND HOMES

Best Friends sanctuary is their last hope. Visit Site

DogTown veternarian Dr. Mike

VET TALK

What it’s like being a vet at DogTown.
Watch Video

NAT GEO NEWSLETTER

Remind Me Friday September 5 9P Friday September 5 8P Friday September 5 7P Friday September 5 9P Friday September 5 8P Friday September 5 6P Back to Series

Trainer’s Diary: Michael Vick Dogs Update

Best Friends Animal Sanctuary's DogTown from the National Geographic Channel show DogTown Dog’s name: Meryl

Trainer’s name: Ann Allums

Initial diagnosis: Fearful of strangers, Meryl may lash out when meeting a new person if not properly introduced.

Training program: First and most important, Meryl is only introduced to new people through people she already trusts so that she does not lash out.  Trainer John Garcia and I have worked rigorously on introducing Meryl to other trainers, so now a number of us have gained her trust. We show her that the people who take care of her won’t hurt her. Additionally, I always seek ways to give Meryl a full and rich life with adoptive owners one day, which begins with learning basic commands such as sit, stay and come, and then moving up to agility training.

Status: Meryl has met new people and has a variety of caregivers who can walk her, play with her and snuggle with her. We practice agility regularly and Meryl loves it. When Meryl sees me coming she gets really excited — good things are going to happen! I also discovered that Meryl loves other dogs and now she has regular play dates with a variety of doggie friends!

Best Friends Animal Sanctuary's DogTown from the National Geographic Channel show DogTownDog’s name: Georgia

Trainer’s name: John Garcia

Initial diagnosis: When I met Georgia, she was very aloof with people, demonstrated food guarding issues and was aggressive to other dogs.

Training program: The first task was to show Georgia that she was loved — that we wouldn’t hurt her, and that in fact we would take care of her and bring good things to her life.  That didn’t take too long! After that, we focused on food guarding.  I started by feeding her by hand so that she had nothing to guard and rewarding her with a bigger treat when I wanted to take another food item away.  She has done a great job. Then we moved to basic commands like sit, stay and come.  I’ve chosen not to address her aggression against other dogs yet.  I don’t blame her for this strong reaction to other dogs after what she’s been through.  For now, if she doesn’t want to be with dogs, that’s fine; we’ll let her be with people — which is what she loves.

Status: Georgia is doing great.  She is enjoying time with me and with her caregivers and hasn’t shown any food guarding issues in a long time.  Plus she’s mastering the basic commands.  She loves her walks, her toys and the people in her life.

Best Friends Animal Sanctuary's DogTown from the National Geographic Channel show DogTownDog’s name: Denzel

Trainer’s name: John Garcia

Initial diagnosis: One of the things I immediately noticed about Denzel was his energy level.  I know from experience that dogs with energy need plenty of exercise, so we would need to include exercise as part of the training program for Denzel.  He would also need a lot of mental and physical stimulation, and we would also have to establish boundaries early on.

Training program: Our training plans for Denzel were put on the shelf for a while because when he arrived at Best Friends, our vets discovered that he had a pretty severe case of anemia and an underlying disease — a tickborne parasite sometimes found in fighting dogs.  It took months to get him on track.  After that, it was on to basic obedience training and getting Denzel ready to pass our Canine Good Citizen test.

Status: Healthy, happy and energetic.  Learning new things every day and getting better and better at following basic commands.

Best Friends Animal Sanctuary's DogTown from the National Geographic Channel show DogTownDog’s name: Cherry

Trainer’s name: Michelle Besmehn

Initial diagnosis: Shy and undersocialized, Cherry flattens to the ground when on a leash and doesn’t want to walk.

Training program: My plan for Cherry was to first get to know him and figure out what causes him stress, what makes him happy and what interests him, and then use those things to help him feel more comfortable and calm. When Cherry first arrived and we clipped a leash to him, he would completely flatten his whole body to the ground and stay motionless.  So one of the first things I did was to carry him outside for his walk and stand there with him, waiting for him to eventually start moving around a little bit on his own.  Even if he sneaked over to a place that he thought was a little safer, maybe near a wall or a fence line, that was an accomplishment because it was his own agenda.  He was still on a leash, but he realized it wasn’t so bad.  And it progressed from there!

Next, we wanted to introduce him to new experiences and help him to realize that not only will he be able to survive new experiences but he may actually be able to enjoy them.  Even touching him made him nervous, but if you started massaging him, he would start to relax. Cherry also seemed very interested in other dogs, so we carefully introduced him to them and found him a friend in Mel to play with, which has really brightened up his outlook on life.

Status: Cherry is becoming a much braver, more confident dog.  He interacts playfully with all of his caregivers and actively seeks our attention.

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