And this picture was taken of Ziggy on a walk earlier today (after the completion of his six week rehab stay):
He may have changed brands, but it's obvious that Ziggy's rehab did not completely cure his alcohol problem. That's okay though, because I'm not giving up on him.
The rehab facility where Ziggy stayed came very highly recommended, and although they obviously got results, I wasn't comfortable with continuing their style of training with Ziggy (similar to Cesar Milan's methods). I have always thought that different dogs respond best to different training styles, but now I realize that different owners or foster parents also respond best to different training styles as well, and I am just not comfortable with the level of corrections that Ziggy requires to follow the training that he's been getting in rehab. I can't deny it worked for him, but I needed to find something that would also work for me, since all attempts to pawn him off on other foster homes or rescues have continued to fail (although I'm not giving up!)
During the adoption event Saturday, one of the PetSmart trainers spent several hours with me and Ziggy, and it was encouraging to see how he responded to her and to learn a few tips that I could use to control his behavior during future adoption events. You will see in many of his pictures taken when he is on leash, that he is wearing a Halti. This is not a muzzle, it's a head collar and it allows Ziggy to open his mouth fully, bark, eat, whatever, unless the leash tightens up, in which case the Halti tightens and forces his mouth closed. This means I have more control over his nipping and am able to refocus him easily when needed. I have used a Gentle Leader before with Remi, and the Halti is very similar. So far it is working very well with Ziggy.
I also am going to be working with another trainer in my area who uses all positive training methods. She spent a few hours with me and Ziggy and taught me some tips for teaching him that I am the one in charge, not him. I still have a lot to learn, but Ziggy and I will start weekly classes with her soon so I can build on what I've learned so far.
All in all, I think his rehab was a very good thing, and I am very grateful for everyone who made it possible. Now if I can just find someone who can help me with this: