With just one (!) more episode of Greatest American Dog, I got the chance to chat with Teresa, who was eliminated last week with her Border Collie, Leroy. We talked about her water-loving pup, and I got her side of the story on those controversial snarl bands. Learn all about Leroy's barking, his new BFF, and much more in the interview below.
PetSugar: How's Leroy doing with the barking?
Teresa: He only barks in a high-energy performance setting. He's sitting right by me now . . . no barking. Practice time . . . no barking. Performance time . . . barking. He just loves to do it and it's part of his style. It's getting slightly better but it's going to take some time to get it to be perfect. I need to figure out how to keep his brain more stimulated (if I do the same things over and over he gets bored). It may make things harder for me but, if it makes it easier on him and curbs some of the barking, then that's what we'll have to do.
PetSugar: What was your dog's favorite part of this experience?
Teresa: I think it's pretty obvious that he loved the pool and to be able to let loose and not be under tight wraps all the time. He's loved water since he was a puppy. Normally I try to get him to at least look at me because there are times when I don't want a sopping wet dog, but for the most part he did listen and it is a good impulse control exercise for him. I tried to let him swim as much as I could – he probably swam at least 45 minutes every day – and we don't ever get to do that at home.
PetSugar: Did Leroy have any special friends on the show?
Teresa: Laura and I clicked immediately and we've become the best of friends since then. In such a short period of time I feel like I've known her since like kindergarten. We just had little tags made that say "Be" and "Fri" on one side for Preston, and Leroy wears on his tag "st" and "end," so when it comes together it says "Best Friend." Preston looks like a little, white toy breed, but he doesn't behave like that – he's a giant dog wrapped up in a little Pomeranian body. Leroy normally doesn't like other dogs as much as he likes Preston. He has his circle of friends, and Preston really broke through that circle and has become Leroy's friend, East Coast or West Coast.
PetSugar: And favorite toys?
Teresa: Anything that you can throw! If you throw the top of a Tupperware container, he's going to think it's a frisbee. You throw something round, like throw an apple, he's gonna fetch it and think it's a ball. He also really likes any kind of toy with things hanging from it like a Wubba – he'll shake it and shake it and hit himself over the head . . . I think that's what it's for?
Finally, hear her side of the "angry" challenge when you read more.
PetSugar: How do you feel about the use of the word "angry"?
Teresa: Angry was by far the hardest word. I don't necessarily think it was an appropriate word, but we just assumed that everything had been approved. Leroy does bite a lot at things that are out of control, like water or hoses or air, and I thought that we could do it. We used spray bottle and the hose to try to get him to show his teeth, which he did. You don't see that I'm clicking and rewarding and doing all of that as well; they cut that positive part of it out, and I can understand how it looks controversial. But he does bite by the pool, you see him bite at all the water [in last week's episode]. I thought I could teach the snarl first without using anything.
PetSugar: So then you went to the snarl bands . . .
Teresa: Laura had mentioned the snarl bands and that it would help with the stress of having to learn this in such a short time. He didn't love it but little puppies don't love collars, other dogs don't like harnesses or gentle leaders. I took one of the two avenues and I don't feel that it was inhumane; we were just trying to get the snarl and reward as best as we could. We got the shot really quickly and left the photo shoot early . . . he got to play a whole lot in the studio so he didn't leave there with any kind of bad taste in his mouth.