Thirteen years ago a crooked puppy started a new journey for Ronda Warywoda. Jinkies had many physical challenges that included three different bone diseases. Her limbs were twisting. The Warywodas weren’t sure if she would have a future. An amazing vet helped get Jinkies healthy but it took a very long year of isolation to prevent another catastrophic injury. What they had after all that isolation was a 90 pound neophobic dog.
Neophobia is an extreme fear of anything new or different. In dogs it occurs because the dog does not receive the early exposures and socialization that teach a dog how to handle new experiences and minor stressors with confidence. Jinkies was terrified of everything. Every day objects would send her on attack mode and she also developed severe resource guarding.
After a few false starts using more traditional training methods Ronda began educating herself about fearful dogs and how to help. She changed to science based methods that used positive reinforcement techniques and counter conditioning to change Jinkies conditioned emotional response. Although still very fearful of new things, Jinkies began to expand her world with more confidence. She overcame many of her fears and Ronda learned to manage the ones Jinkies couldn’t overcome.
Seeing Jinkies get to a better place lead Ronda to want to help other dogs (and their humans). She enrolled in CATCH Canine Trainers Academy, which teaches a science based program and focuses on basic training and problem solving. Ronda then enrolled in the University of Washington’s Applied Animal Behavior course, a science based program that focuses on behavior challenges.
Ronda Warywoda's career in dog training and behavior started because of a desire to help Jinkies but what she found was a way to help other dogs do better and be better. Ronda lost Jinkies recently, at 12 years old. That’s pretty good for a dog who, at 12 weeks, did not have a promising future. Not only did she help Jinkies, but through 29K9 she has helped numerous other dogs as well as mentoring up and coming trainers. The legacy of Jinkies, the once “crooked puppy” who became stronger and more confident, will live on through those dogs and their humans.