Raggs was a rambunctious young Terrier mix at Lifeline Animal Protection and Placement shelter. She had been returned by a family who had adopted her because she nipped at their small children. The volunteers knew basically she was a good dog, she just needed someone who could teach her manners with such an active and outgoing personality.
When Yolanda saw Raggs on Petfinder.com, she fit the image Yolanda had for a dog to adopt for her family. “I was looking specifically for a Terrier mix and had this image of one with an intelligent face like that of a Berger Picard,” said Yolanda. “She seemed perfect.”
On Nov. 14, 2010, Raggs went home with her new family, Yolanda, her husband Tom and three boys Adam, Isaac and Caleb. They used her first day in their home as her “second birthday,” as it was estimated that Raggs was about a year and a half old. And they renamed her Maggie May.
Maggie’s personality was immediately apparent, and Yolanda knew she would need training, but with a smart, alert and active pupil, she knew Maggie would adapt and learn. “If allowed, she would happily be the dominant individual in the family,” Yolanda said.
“Maggie has settled in well. She wasn’t wild, but she’d had very little training,” Yolanda said. “I worked with her daily, when she arrived, so she has made a lot of progress.”
Yolanda applies Cesar Millan’s theory that a dog needs “exercise, discipline, and affection” to be happy. What Yolanda also has is patience and the understanding that consistent application of training is important to making humans and dogs happily compatible, especially when a dog has grown up with little discipline. With gentle correction and verbal praises and treats when Maggie May does things right, the little dog who was “kind of wild” at the shelter is learning to correctly channel her energy and learn her manners.
Her training has included Maggie May learning to be a follower. “For example, we go through doorways first and she waits to eat until given the okay,” explains Yolanda. “When I walk her, I don’t allow her to pull or get ahead of me and I will reverse direction until she is walking beside me, then we turn back the other direction.”
“She loves our daily power walks of 30 to 60 minutes,” Yolanda adds. “And giving her affection is the easiest part!”
Maggie May surprised the family on her second day by leaping the 24-inch gate separating the kitchen and family room. Then she proceeded to figure out how to open the 32-inch gate if it wasn’t properly latched. So there has been no question as to her intelligence and ability to learn.
It turned out that Maggie May was essentially house trained, having an accident only when she got excited. She has been crate trained now and stays in the kennel at night and when the family isn’t home. A visit from Yolanda’s sister over Christmas presented a challenge as that meant Maggie May had company, too, in a Jack Russell Terrier who was as head strong as Maggie May.
One thing that Yolanda has not expected was that Maggie May sheds fairly heavily so there’s more brushing involved on a daily basis than she expected. She has changed her to a premium food to slow down the shedding.
Maggie May is the only dog in the household of five and is getting along well with all of her humans. “She has actually been quieter than expected except for my sister’s visit which brought the ‘bark’ out in her. Her favorite spot is next to me on the family room couch. Otherwise, she spends her ‘leisure’ time in the kitchen lying on her bed chewing on a toy or rawhide. I think she is a happy dog!”
And she certainly looks happy in the photo in her new home.
Lifeline Animal Protection and Placement is the only no-kill shelter in the Wichita area. They have taken on a large number of animals the past couple of weeks as the primary rescuer of the dogs and cats from the Meadowbrook Safe Harbor shelter in Andover which closed three weeks ago. If you’re looking for a new four-legged friend, stop by the shelter at 310 W. 45th St. N., or consider sending a donation their way to help care for the 250 animals in Lifeline’s care until they find forever homes.