To any rescue that follows us or anyone that owns a challenging dog, this is a MUST READ! I want to share something that we go over with clients all the time.
We start today with heavy hearts. As dog trainers, you can only imagine the networking with other dog trainers across the country that takes place. Bouncing ideas, techniques and methodology off each other. Sometimes, we call each other when we have a real hard case and are looking for a breakthrough (no pun intended). And other times, we call each other just to chew the fat and have a laugh. This morning we were contacted by a fellow trainer and were floored by what they told us. Like us and many other trainers, this trainer is a balanced trainer and likens their training style to being in a pack. That’s how dogs operate, period….and what I am about to share with you will personify that.
Our trainer friend took in a dog not too long ago from a rescue because of dog aggression issues. We personally followed the progress of this dog and what the trainer was able to accomplish was amazing! This trainer gave something to this dog that he probably never had before – freedom, confidence and happiness. As trainers, we ask potential clients to be realistic in their expectations when they have a dog with serious issues. It’s not always a wave of a magic wand and you get Lassie or Benji back. Sometimes, behaviors have to be managed and many times, can be managed effectively. Your dog may not ever play with other dogs, or like being pet by humans however, we can give your dog other choices other than lashing out aggressively or otherwise.
In our trainer friend’s case, this dog was given other choices. The happy day came when the dog was adopted by his forever family. Training was provided to his family not only regarding the tools that were used and commands – but what to do and what not to do with the dog. This included not taking the dog to the dog park, inundating the dog with other dogs around etc. This was a dog that would rather hang with the humans. The adopters agreed to everything. Things were going well and the owners felt confident enough to take the dog to a dog park. There’s no other way to gently lead into what happened next…the dog was killed in a pack attack.
Not only did the owners lives change forever, they changed the lives of each and every dog that was involved and their owners. All because of the adopters’ selfish needs (oh, we want and need to see our dog romp and play with other dogs). Well, I have news for you…not all dogs want that! When a quality, reputable trainer tells you what you can and can’t do with your dog, listen to them! The reason why we as humans do what we do with dogs is because it makes us feel good, not the dog. Many times, it works against the dog. The more you think like a dog and understand what they need, the more successful you and the dog will be. The more you feed only your selfish needs, well…I like to call it, when love kills.