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Cause constant repetition is the path to progression - A Nipsey & His Handler Story

Nipsey, a one and a half year old Pitbull, arrived at MHS back in November of 2020 with absolutely no manners and lacked any sort of training. He quickly became our resident goofball who just wanted to love you, but the problem was he didn’t know how big and powerful he was. That posed a very important question to his team, how are we to find him a perfect home if he is lacking basic manners?

His team quickly decided that in order to set Nipsey up for success, they had to enroll him in a training program that would teach him basic obedience training as well as impulse control. Nipsey was enrolled in Our Companions Level 1 Family Companion class, an 8 week training class, in Manchester, CT with Carla and Hollie, two of MHS’s long time dog team volunteers.

The beginning of the program came with it’s fair share of obstacles. Obstacles for both Nipsey, and his beloved ladies. Carla and Hollie quickly learned that Nipsey isn’t a fan of getting in and out of cars (which could have put a damper on things before leaving the shelter) but each week his dedicated handlers found creative ways to get Nipsey to jump in the car for class.

Our Companions made some great recommendations to help keep Nipsey engaged during class, like bring toys when he did get overstimulated if he needed a break and tips on how to handle Nipsey when he got too excited. Nipsey’s handlers took O/C’s advice to heart and arrived to the each class well prepared with high value treats and some of Nipsey’s favorite toys. (These tips were a success! Nipsey was able to stay engaged and present through the entire class!)

Training didn’t only happen for these three rockstars in the classroom: when not attending class Carla and Hollie would make time to come down to MHS to work with Nipsey, practicing what they learned at O/C and to prepare him for the next class. The hard work and dedication both his handlers is a testament of their desire to see Nipsey thrive. Within a few weeks, the commitment of all three started to become apparent to those within our shelter and O/C. Our rambunctious pup with no attention span transformed into a dog that followed basic commands, and could actually go for a walk because of his new and improved leash manners.

Nipsey successfully graduated from Level 1 but he didn’t stop there and neither did Carla and Hollie! These two dedicated ladies knew Nipsey was ready for the next level and gladly accepted the challenge to take Nipsey to Level 2 at Our Companions, Family Companion 2 which builds on level 1 skills but in real life settings.

Level 2 posed a whole new challenge and experience for Nipsey with a lot more distractions; the classes were held outside at different locations so both Nipsey and his handlers had to work extra hard with keeping Nipsey’s attention. Each week the trio would build upon the skills learned in level 1 to help reinforce Nipsey’s training in real life settings. The classes helped the team learn more about Nipsey, what he needed more practice on and that Nipsey loves exploring! Nipsey successfully graduated Level 2 and is taking a summer break before he considers Level 3.

The change in Nipsey from day 1 joining the MHS family to now has been remarkable. Granted, Nipsey still has his “moments” - after all he still is a puppy! Many people looking to invest in a rescue canine, don’t realize that many of these dogs aren’t afforded training or structure prior to their forever home. At MHS, we are incredibly fortunate to not only have an amazing partnership with O/C that allows us to help our canines but we are incredibly blessed to have a network of volunteers that go above and beyond for our animals. A special thank you to his dedicated handlers, Carla and Hollie for the time, love, and commitment you have put into Nipsey.

Nipsey is currently available for adoption at the Meriden Humane Society.

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