Martini’s Novice Trick Dog (NTD) Title

We adopted Martini (Tini) from Pointer Rescue, Org. She arrived on July 10th, 2021. Unfortunately, Tini’s past left her with some deep rooted fear. She was so terrified that she could not function through daily life activities. She would release her bladder, bowels and anal glands almost simultaneously at the sight or sound of someone. If I attempted to do training, she would shut down at the sight of equipment, a leash, my hand signals… even treats.

It was beyond difficult to exhaust every option in my power to try and convince Tini that she was safe with us…just to fail over and over again… to see my 4-legged family member shudder in fear in her own home was heart wrenching.  In March 2022, Brian and I finally realized that lessening Martin’s fear was beyond our capabilities…We needed help…. and LOTS of it. 

We sought the advice and expertise of a Behaviorist. On March 7, 2022 Martini was evaluated by Dr. Shana Gilbert-Gregory at Mount Laurel Animal Hospital. Dr. Shana diagnosed Martini with an extreme case of Global Fear. Global Fear dogs suffer from distress and anxiety caused by animate, inanimate, and situational fears, or a combination of all. It is often impossible to determine all circumstances to which a globally fearful animal may react. Dr. Shana has been so patient and kind, and her expertise in behavioral medicine is outstanding. In the last year, Tini has trialed over 10 medications and numerous combinations and doses of each. Although we observed progress along the way, it was painfully slow and included roadblocks, plateaus, and setbacks (Dr. Shana prepared us for this). Martini attended “Happy Visits” at Mount Laurel Animal Hospital, and had a re-eval on November 21, 2022. At that re-eval, I was defeated. I inquired about taking Martini off of her medications – wondering if we would ever find something that would allow her to have the quality of life she deserved….maybe we just had to resort to the idea that Tini was going to be like this forever? Dr. Shana advised against stopping any medications, and suggested that we trial another drug. Just days later, and before we had made any changes in her medication, I began to observe some breakthroughs. Could it be? I emailed Dr. Shana and she told us to sit-tight and see how things develop over the next few weeks. In the weeks following, I continued to see progress! Then… another plateau. Dr. Shana adjusted the dose of her current drugs again, and more headway was made!

Just recently, Martini has made even MORE wonderful progress. Lately I saw her becoming more and more comfortable in an upstairs room in our home, and she specifically used the bed in this room as a safe place. (The bed has recently been taken off of its frame for our dog, Whiskey, who is recovering from surgery). When I saw the confidence within Tini while in this room, I figured I’d give training another go. I decided to use the bed as her “place” in lieu of a Klimb. If I didn’t see it with my own eyes I would have never believed it – but she didn’t shut down – in fact she had fun, and she learned each task QUICKLY… 593 days / 1.6 years later, SHE DID IT!!

Tini completed the necessary 15 points as she mastered eleven Novice Level tricks & two Intermediate Level trick (each worth 1 point) and one Advanced Level trick (worth 2 points).

Tricks Submitted for the Novice Title:

The video is not perfect by any means – but it is surely one of THE happiest, proudest moments I have ever had!  Congratulations to Pinelands’ Perfect Half-Pour: Martini! HUGE thanks to Dr. Shana… Martini is on her way to living the life she deserves and showing the world her fun personality – she would not be at this point without Dr. Shana and her staff!

Why Trick Training?

Trick training can mentally and physically stimulate your dog. It can help build the dog’s muscle tone and stamina. The tasks can also increased flexibility, balance and concentration. This type of training also tends to boost a dog’s confidence and strengthen the bond between human and dog. …and best of all…IT’S FUN! If you are interested in trick training, I am a member of an amazing trick dog group on Facebook run by one of the most kind, patient and knowledgeable people I know. I’d be glad to help you get started…you won’t regret it!