Week 17 
Sheila’s handlers don’t have much new to report about her this week.  She continues to be a good girl, and loves her time outdoors for a good game of fetch and a romp in the doggie pool.  The best news if that Sheila will soon be leaving the big house for her forever home!  We couldn’t be happier for her, and look forward to hearing about her last week in the program!  Congratulations, Sheila!!!

Week 16
This pup’s handlers tell us that “now that it’s getting hotter out, Sheila hasn’t been as energetic as usual because of her dark coat.  She absorbs heat at a much quicker rate than light-haired dogs.  But from a trainer’s standpoint, this is welcome because she tires quickly.  That way, when it’s time for her to go to bed, she’s exhausted as opposed to being restless.”  Sheila received gold stars this week for obeying “both verbal and non-verbal skills even when there are tons of distractions around her.  She also stays when I have people entice her with food.  Her focus is pretty darn good.  Sheila has done well since she has been in the program, and she keeps getting better.  She gets along good with the other dogs and loves to play fetch.”  Now, all this sweet girl needs is a forever home.  HOPEfully, you’ll find it soon, little Sheila!

Week 15
“Sheila has been doing good since she came to the program, and she continues to improve.  She is a quick learner and very obedient.  She does well with all of her basic commands and verbal correction.  Sheila gets along with the other dogs, loves to play in the water as well as playing fetch. She also runs through the obstacle course like it’s nothing.”  Sheila also attended the dedication of the dog park in Hagerstown over the weekend.  Although her tail was tucked under her during the walk from the prison to the van, it took no time at all for her to be wagging it at the event!  The HOPE volunteers were pleased to see this shy girl approach strangers and show off her numerous cue skills!  This little girl is a keeper!

Week 14 
“For a dog Sheila’s size (which is bigger than the other dogs here), she is extremely submissive in dog play.  Example…for the first time ever, she decided to play with Huckleberry, who happens to be the smallest dog in the program.  Sheila could have easily played too roughly with him and caused him to be frightened or intimidated.  Contrarily, he was much more playful than he was.  Sheila corrected Huck a few times, but he would jump right back up and pounce on her like a wild lion upon its prey.  She knows how to play with the little guys as well as the big ones.”  Sheila’s handlers gave her gold stars for all of the commands and tricks that she knows.  In addition to her basic cues, she also will stand on her back legs, jump through hoops and give hugs when given the proper signals!  “Sheila is a faithful and obedient companion who is always ready to learn new things.”

Week 13
“This week, I just sat back and watched how playful Sheila has become.  She truly enjoys the outdoors, and she absolutely loves searching for treats when she’s outside.  As soon as we go out to the yard, I’ll throw a bunch of small treats in the grass.  Then, I’ll say ‘go find it.’  Once I say those three words, Sheila goes into search mode.  She’ll spend the next 20 minutes or so just searching for the treats.”  Her handlers also tell us that she is very well trained and knows “a ton of commands.  She’s a smart dog who obeys without being lured with treats.  Sheila also really performs well on the obstacle course.  There is nothing preventing her from being adopted.” This sweet girl needs to find a forever family to appreciate her for the dog that she was and the dog she has become.  Could that be you?

Week 12
This week, Sheila learned how to find her leash!  One of her handlers would ask her to sit in front of him.  While she waited, he would tie a knot in the leash as she watched him.  “Then, I would throw the leash behind her, and happily say ‘go get it,’ just as if she was fetching a ball.  Once she got the hang of it, I just said ‘leash’ in the same enthusiastic tone.  It took her about a week or so for her to put it together.  After I realized she fully understood the command, I started hiding her leash under the bed or her mattress in the crate.  She got it.  Oh, and you must always, always, always immediately take her outside once she finds her leash.”  Sheila’s handlers also report and she is “doing well with everything.  She gets along with people as well as the other dogs.  She loves to play in the water, play fetch and she runs through the obstacle course like it’s nothing.”  Congratulations on another great week, Sheila!

Week 11
“Sheila is an obedient, well-mannered dog.  She goes through the obstacle course with no problem, and is working on obeying hand signals in addition to the verbal ones she already knows.” This pup also enjoys playing with the other dogs and playing fetch with her handlers.  Of course, she loves the water.  One of her handlers reports that “it was so hot the other day that I decided to exercise Sheila in the pool.  Once I had it filled up, I threw her Kong ball into it.  She dove in for the ball, and literally had to stick her entire head underneath the water.  Not because it sank, but because she flipped so excitedly in the pool that the ball became an evasive little device.  Once she retrieved the ball and brought it back to me, I threw it back into the pool.  Sheila is easily amused.”  Here’s to amusing members of your forever family with your water antics, little girl!

Week 10
Sheila’s primary handler told us this week that “as usual, she really enjoys jogging with me every day.  When she first arrived here, I could out-run her.  I’m in pretty good shape, but now Sheila tires me out.  I find myself having to take a break because she wants to keep moving.  I know that physical exercise between a dog and a trainer is important to build a bond and enforce discipline.  So, I must run with her at my pace.”  Sheila got gold stars this week for how well she does with her basic commands and her strong recall.  Her handlers are happy with how well she has done in the program, and only wish that she soon finds her forever home! 

Week 9
“Sheila is a people pleaser. She has come a long way with her fear and anxiety.  At one point in time, she would be terrified to be on the tier with all of the noise and the people.  Now, she trots around like she owns the place.   She absolutely loves being told what to do.  She waits for a command, any command.  The moment I start rallying a bunch of random cues just to stimulate her brain, she jumps to attention like a soldier does when a superior enters the room.  At each command accompanied by hand signals, Sheila obeys immediately.  She may accidently go into a down position from excitement, but once I say ‘calm down,’ she does just that, and then she’s ready to go back to work.”  Sheila loves to play fetch and be in the water.  She gets along well with the other dogs and enjoys playing with them and the other handlers.  She also does well with the obstacle course.  “Sheila is a good and obedient dog.” 

Week 8
One of her handlers “truly enjoys jogging with Sheila every morning, and she looks forward to it too.  When I wake up, she is already staring at me as if to say ‘come on, man.  Hurry up, brush your teeth and let’s go!’ After I let her out of her crate, she stretches, walks to the door and just sits waiting for me.  She stares at me while I brush my teeth and waits for me to get her leash.  Once I have her leash in-hand, she nonchalantly wags her tail, but she won’t move out of the sit position.  Shelia has definitely learned how to be patient.” Keep up the positive spirit, little girl!

Week 7
Sheila handlers told us this week that she is “doing good in the program.  They gave this pup gold stars for her grasp of just about all of her basic commands.  “She sits, stays, lays down and goes into her crate on command.  She also does good with verbal correction.  Sheila sometimes wants to get in front of you while walking on the leash, but she will come back to your side with a heel cue or redirection.”  Her handlers also report that she does well with the obstacle course and is very obedient.  “Sheila is an energetic dog who loves playing with her pack mates, a game of fetch and getting into the water.”   You’re doing great, Miss Sheila!

Week 6
Sheila’s handlers report that she is “complete cured of her fear of a lot of people and the noises she encounters each day.  It was a long road, but she has finally overcome the milestone.”  Good girl! This pup knows just about all of her commands because she listens well to her handlers’ verbal corrections.  Of course, Sheila continues to love the outdoors, and jogging with one of her handlers each morning and afternoon.  He reports that “I’ve built up her stamina so high that most of the other dogs can’t keep up with her.  For instance, when I decide to run with two dogs at the same time, by lap 8 the other dog begin to lag behind.  But, Sheila stays at my side the entire time. By lap 20, Sheila still says up with me and then I’ll be exhausted.” Here’s to daily jogs with forever family member(s) in your future, Sheila!

Week 5
Sheila’s handlers report that she continues to become more comfortable with her surroundings, and both commented on her intelligence. “When she came to the program, she didn’t know anything.  Now, she knows both verbal and non-verbal cues for many of her commands.  She also jumps through the [agility] hoop as I hold it in the air. “Each week, Sheila demonstrates new characteristics.  It’s almost as if she’s trying to show us, slowly but surely, how brilliant she is.”  One night, it got a bit chilly within the prison walls. “When I woke up in the middle of the night, I looked over to Sheila’s crate and she literally was fast asleep laying completely under her blanket in the crate. I’ve read in one of the books in our doggie library that dog sweaters can help sooth incredibly anxious dogs. But, I credit Sheila for wrapping herself up in her blanket.”  Keep coming out of your shell, little girl! 

Week 4 
Her handlers tell us that “Sheila is still progressing every day. She is high energy, loves to work but is also very playful. Sheila gets along with all of the other dogs most of the time. She has also opened up a little and is willing to meet new people.” This pup does about all of her commands. She sits, lays, goes into her crate and fetches very well. This week Sheila showed her handlers how much she loves the water. “Because I noticed how much she enjoys being bathed, I decided to take her outside and fill up the doggy pool. Sheila gets easily overheated in the warmer weather, so I thought it would be good for her to alternate working her on the agility course for 10 minutes and then letting her cool off in the pool for the next 5 minutes. It worked like magic. After her rest time in the pool, she came back fully energized and ready to work. The way she relaxes in the pool is a beautiful sight! She actually goes into a down position and does a half-roll just to splash the water around. Sheila absolutely loves it.”

Week 3 
Sheila’s handlers report that she is getting more comfortable learning what life is with a lot of people around her. “It’s slow progress. Sometimes she’s wagging her tail and approaching them, but other times she shies away from them.” Her handlers have taken Sheila out on the rec hall with mixed results, but they reassure her that all is well when she’s in acrowd. Overall, this pup is “obedient, well-mannered,and does just about everything well.” One of her handlers took her out on the agility course this week. “She caught on really quickly. Sheila does the weave course ‘like cake’, and goes through the tunnel as if it wasn’t there. She really loves rolling around on the ground when she’s outdoors.” Keep up the good work, Sheila!

Week 2
Although she’s still shy of all of the new noises she encounters each day, “Sheila has got somewhat used to her surroundings. She has improved a lot, but still needs to overcome her fear of men. Since she’s in a male prison, it’s system overload, but she’s coming around.” This pup now knows her basic commands. One of her handlers reports that “the first week, I used a lot of treats, but now I use more praise, and she’s adjusted beautifully.” Of course, Sheila got some play time this week. “She loves playing fetch with a ball. And, since it snowed again, Sheila got to demonstrate how much she loves to play in it. She did her signature ‘doggy-snow-slide”move. She also just rolled around in it making her version of a snow angel.” One of her handlers braved the cold to make sure that Sheila got plenty of time enjoying her time in the dog yard. They played a game of fetch with snowballs,“but the best part was when I would grab an armful of snow, launch it in theair and watch Sheila jump frantically trying to catch all of it out of the air. My hands felt like two blocks ofice, but she had fun, and it was a small sacrifice for me to pay.” Your handlers are looking out for you, Sheila! Be brave, little girl!

Week 1 
Her handlers report that “Sheila’s first week was normal according to her assessment. She doesn’t seem like she will have a problem adjusting. She is responsive and obedient, and is ready to work and learn new things. Since she’s a lab, she is smart and a fast learner. She is very attentive. The first couple of days she wouldn’t pay much attention to me. Then, all of a sudden she would just wait for me to give her something to chew. She catches on quickly. She doesn’t recognize verbal commands, but she is easily lured with the use of treats. She walks good on a loose-leash, she sits, and goes all the way down. She’s frightened of all of the commotion inside, but outside she’s as free as a bird. She loves the snow. What I saw her do caught me by surprise. I swore my eyes were playing tricks on me. Sheila would run at full speed and flip on her back, which caused her to literally slide across the snow-covered ground. She loves sliding on her back in the snow. Then other times she would roll on her back and use her nose to toss snow up in the air. I would throw snowballs at her just to watch her catch the snow in her mouth.” It sounds like you’re off to a great start, Sheila!

SHEILA is 100% pure fun! She was unsure of new people at first, but couldn't resist the urge to play. Sheila is young and needs help with basic obedience and trusting men. We're hoping that her experience at the prison will help bring her out of her shell and widen her circle of friends.