Monday, May 30, 2011

Good Kharma

It's officially Summertime!
The warm weather seems to have settled in for good, and if the wind will only stop trying to blow us right over the mountains, it's a great time to get outside and enjoy this beautiful place we call home.
Many people choose to add a dog to their family for just such a purpose - a loyal friend and companion to join us in our outdoor adventures. Someone to insist we get up for that morning jog when we're having trouble pulling ourselves out of bed.
At Dublin Animal Hospital, we know that getting active with your dog is not only fun and rewarding, but essential to your dog's physical and mental health. Unfortunately, all too often our clients are forced to leave their four legged buddy at home while they hike, run, or enjoy a comfortable picnic in the park. Why?
Because while Fido might be the picture of domesticated perfection inside of his house - the minute he gets out things quickly unravel.

Barking, pulling at the leash, lunging at other dogs, and behaving like an overall menace, until you are counting the seconds it will take you to reach home.

Does this sound familiar? If so, take heart - you aren't alone!
Sit. Stay. And enjoy the story of Kharma - a true diamond in the rough who needed just the right family  and a very special trainer to help her shine.

When Dr. Lena Roeder and her husband, Marcus, decided to add a new member to their family, they knew they wanted a dog that would fit easily into their active lifestyle - camping, hiking, and joining Dr. Roeder on her daily runs. After contacting HO-BO Care Boxer Rescue, they were introduced to a 10 month old female they decided to call Kharma - and fell instantly in love.
Kharma had a bit of a checkered past, including a bad habit of jumping impossibly high fences - which had more than once landed her a visit to the Humane Society. But the Roeders were confident that with time, love, and sufficient exercise, Kharma could overcome her less endearing habits and settle right into her new home.
She seemed to be on the path to doing just that - and after a brief adjustment period became lovingly attached to her new family, which included family dogs Owen, Racer and Penelope.
But soon the Roeders began to see another side to Kharma. Extremely insecure, Kharma would become impossible to handle when people came over - including the Roeder's own children visiting from college! Her physical size and deep, barrel chested bark made her an intimidating spectacle for visitors. Like so many dog owner's facing this same dilemma, the Roeders began to feel as though having company was more problem than pleasure. Not only that, but taking Kharma anywhere was proving nearly impossible. Instead of enjoying her daily run, Dr. Roeder found herself constantly tense, worrying that someone would be around the next turn and set Kharma off. This was not the life she'd envisioned for herself or her dog. They needed help, and they needed it fast.

For 24 years, Rick Walkley has dedicated his life to the education and training of dogs and their owners. In 2008 he started Focus Dog Training in Colorado Springs. His mission?
One trainer, One dog, One goal.
Rick Walkley, Focus Dog Training
Rick's impressive career experience and tutelage under some of the world's most renowned dog trainers has given him the expertise to develop a unique training program which is tailored to meet the needs of each individual dog he works with. Unlike some traditional training centers, Focus Dog Training  does not use a set criteria for every dog that comes through. Many of Rick's clients come with relatively simple goals - for example, they want their dog to reliably sit, stay, and come on command. Elderly owners no longer able to adequately exercise their dog may need Rick to train their pet to run on a treadmill. Some of these goals can be accomplished in relatively few sessions and do not require the standard six weeks' worth of classes offered by traditional training programs. Other dogs, like Kharma, have more extensive needs. Dogs suffering from insecurity can be aggressive toward not only other dogs - but people as well. Training can not only considerably improve the quality of life for both dog and owner - but can actually save the life of a dog prone to insecure aggression.
According to Rick, the number one mistake made by dog owners with regards to training is simply the lack of training! Many people believe that the purpose of training lies solely in puppy socialization or when a dog becomes out of control. The truth is, every dog can benefit significantly from Rick's program. In fact, Rick recommends beginning as soon as you bring your new puppy home.

The Roeder's goal for Kharma? To finally banish the insecurities that were keeping her and their family from leading an active, happy, and full life.
They were amazed to see a difference in her after only one session with Rick! In the proper hands, Kharma proved to be a willing and enthusiastic student - but it would take some time for her to be fully rehabilitated. After talking with the Roeders and gaining an understanding of what their ultimate goals for Kharma were, Rick put in four weekly training sessions where she learned not only basic commands, but learned to perform them reliably - off lead. In addition to this, Kharma underwent five days of more intensive training sessions one on one with Rick. During these sessions, he helped her to become the confident, obedient dog that he knew she could be.

The impact of her time at Focus Dog Training on Kharma's family has been profound. Even at home, Kharma's relationships with the other dogs and humans has taken a drastic turn for the better. The Roeders can now enjoy having guests over - without Kharma's loud objections. And perhaps best of all, Dr. Roeder now has a running companion that shares her love of being outdoors and exploring favorite trails together. She no longer has any fear of other runners or animals crossing paths with them, and she and Kharma can simply relax and enjoy one another's company.
And Kharma?
She has the happiest ending of all. Love, Family, and a Forever Home to call her own. 

Does your dog need Focus Dog Training? The short answer is -- yes!
Any dog, of any age and obedience level, can benefit from Rick's training program.
Contact Rick today to learn more: email, or call

All of us at Dublin Animal Hospital wish you and your four legged family a fun filled summer!

What are you and your pet doing this summer?
We'd love to feature your fun summer activities on our blog!

Help a friend in need!


  1. Awesome blog Jenn!!! Love the story and the photos are beyond wonderful!!!