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An Ode to Star

I began working with Jayna in 2013. She had acquired a scrappy little pit bull that had been abandoned at the dog boarding facility that she was managing at the time. As a pit bull with dog aggression, human aggression, and little experience living in a home environment, Star was not an adoptable dog.

In addition to being committed to saving Star, Jayna was committed to becoming a dog trainer. A great combination of goals, since Star was the type of dog that you needed to be a dog trainer to own successfully. Every dog has things to teach us, and Star was no exception. In fact, she had MANY things to teach us. She was not easy to motivate, and easily offended. That made teaching her new skills a challenge, and managing her day-to-day life a chore.

Jayna took those challenges in stride, and embraced every lesson Start had up her sleeve. She trained Star’s obedience on and off leash, through advanced obedience, through Canine Good Citizen testing, to accept (and even play with) select dogs, and to be safe in public spaces. She’s stayed devoted to the life-long management that these types of dogs required and Star lived peacefully and without incident with Jayna for her lifetime.

Star was a life-changing kind of dog that changed Jayna’s life in a way that has allowed her to improve the lives of thousands of dogs over the last 11 years. Jayna is now the Training Director at Leash Free Living. She is in charge of overseeing behavior cases, instructor training, lesson planning, and day to day operations. I think Jayna would agree that she owes much of her success to the strong training foundation that Star helped her build.

We said goodbye to Star today for the last time, at age 15. Star was able to live a long, spoiled life as a treasured companion, thanks to training. Spend some time working with your dogs today in her memory. I’m going to guide my dogs’ training today with two of my favorite Star lessons in mind.

1) The real magic of training is found in consistency. It isn’t always in flashy or glamorous, but daily conversations with your dog are the key to achieving great things.

2) Oftentimes, the hardest challenges are the most worthwhile.