Training a Rescue Dog: The Story of Guinness

I’m compelled to tell this wonderful story about my pal Guinness. Guinness is about 11 years old and is a re-homed Cocker Spaniel who lives with my good friend Karen at Tails by the Bay in Homer, Alaska. Karen took Guinness into her home several years ago, and has lots of experience training a rescue dog, (or more accurately, re-training) as she has been involved in rescue for many years.

We don’t know a lot about Guinness’s background, but we do know that he had some type of accident that injured his spine. He has had mobility issues since Karen got him, and they have been getting worse over the years.

The first time I met Guinness was in the fall of 2016 when I went to Alaska to watch Karen’s dogs while she was out of town. At that time, Guinness was doing pretty well – he was walking and getting around fine, if a little bowlegged. I went up again this past summer and Guinness’s mobility had deteriorated to the point where Karen had purchased a cart to support his back legs. At this time, Guinness could no longer walk. He was able to scoot around on the floor by pulling himself with his front legs, but his back legs were pretty much useless.

Well, Guinness didn’t need professional training for this – he took to the cart like a fish to water! What he really needed was some off leash dog training instruction! We had to keep a close eye on him, because he’d take off down the road like a sprinter, not realizing his limitations. He did take a couple of spills when rounding corners, but quickly learned not to panic and to wait to be righted. The cart has greatly improved Guinness’s quality of life – he’s now able to go out with the other dogs and able to go to the beach, again.

UPDATE!! I just got this video from Karen.

The cart (among some other things) has strengthened Guinness’s core to the point he can walk, again! Let’s hope he keeps improving and maybe won’t need the cart at all, someday.

It’s so heartwarming to see his improvement. He’s a real trooper – at 9 ½, when most dogs are gearing down, Guinness is taking it to a higher level. And, not to be self-serving, but it’s really helped with the house training, as well. Not that Guinness wasn’t house trained, but now he can take himself outside, rather than having to wait for someone to put him in his cart and help him out.

If you’d like to access some dog obedience training videos, check out our selection here– we have tons of them!

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