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Dogs don’t just set a good example — they can be teachers

Dogs don’t just set a good example — they can be teachers

Hastings woman cures canine victims of PTSD


HASTINGS — It’s possible for dogs to suffer from PTSD. And it’s possible for other dogs to cure them.

Kathy Ripp’s dog, Rowdy, suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder after being attacked 2-1/2 years ago by five other hounds in Cairo.

Ripp thought Rowdy had gotten over it. “And then last November, another dog came running out at us,” she said. The issues came back, and they were worse.

After those attacks, Rowdy became somewhat aggressive, and nervous. Before the attacks, he had never had a problem with storms.

But after the attack experiences, he could sense a storm coming two hours away. Ripp and her husband didn’t even know a storm was on the way. “But he knew. He’d just shake,” she said.

Ripp’s veterinarian noticed a “huge change” in the dog, she said.

Ripp’s other dog, Sparky, was also a victim of the attack. But he didn’t suffer the way Rowdy did.

Rowdy, 5, is better now. When Ripp walks the dog, she’s not as fearful that he’ll be aggressive. When a storm rolled through a month ago, “it didn’t bother him one bit,” she said.

For his recovery, Ripp gives all the credit to Michelle Jones, who operates Howling Dog K-9 Training. Jones, who lives northeast of Hastings, is a dog trainer and therapy dog owner.

Ripp likes the way Jones uses positive reinforcement. She doesn’t use choke chains or pinch collars.

Jones helps the dog and its owner become more in tune with each other.

“She is just amazing. I just can’t believe the difference that it’s made in my dogs,” Ripp said.

Jones trains dogs to train other dogs.

One of the pets she’s trained is Miriam, a 1-year-old mix of St. Bernard and Rottweiler.

Miriam loves to teach and is good at what she does, Jones said.

Another one of Jones’ dogs, Noah, serves as playground manager. The 8-year-old husky-Malamute mix intervenes only when necessary.

Noah is a therapy dog. Miriam is on her way to becoming one.

On Thursday, the 125-pound Miriam gently worked with a 4-month-old dog named Olive, owned by Jenna Malzahn of Hastings.

Jones and her faculty of hounds teach such skills as bite inhibition, submission and body language. In bite inhibition, dogs learn to lessen the power of their bite.

In her work, Jones said, she sets pet owners up for success.

The classes Jones teaches include puppy socialization, obedience classes, desensitizing classes, therapy dog sessions and preparation for Canine Good Citizen sessions.

Who should come to Howling Dog K-9 Training?

“Anybody that wants to have a nice dog for their friends and family, their relatives and the community,” Jones said.

At Howling Dog, Jones does private sessions inside her barn.

She also has a 3-acre area that’s completely fenced in. A native of Washington state, Jones has owned the business since 2014.

Jones has a total of six dogs.

In addition to the rural property, Jones teaches classes at Tractor Supply Co. in Hastings.

Her phone number is 402-984-5430.

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