Okay, so it's been a little while since I've written and there have been tons of dogs -- and their humans -- saved! We also just graduated two more Canine Leadership classes and two Dog Park Behavior classes in addition to more than 40 individual sessions in the past month alone! And, I have to admit, there have been some amazing transformations in the humans. I know the dogs will get it but convincing humans to stop living in the past is the harder part and I'm proud to report that no one in the past 4 months has given up on their dog! In fact, many of the Pack Leaders-in-training have pushed themselves beyond where they were in the beginning! In spite of other "trainers" they've hired....
I say this because my clients have told me some horror stories about what they have been told about their dogs and themselves by people who pass themselves off as dog trainers and don't know the first thing about dog psychology. I'll say this: If you don't know dogs or dog psychology be honest with yourself and with the person who needs help and is doing what is best for their dogs: admit it up front. That's why those same "treat trainers" have a disclaimer on their websites that states they reserve the right to decline to work with any dog. The disclaimer itself is unnecessary! Just say, "This is out of my league or abilities."
It's ridulous, dangerous and irresponsible to tell clients to, "Shut up," (yes, this happened), or that one client's two dogs are so aggressive with each other that they need to be euthanized without ever leashing them up and walking them (again, this happened and was told to me by my client as I sat on the floor with both dogs together after working with them for less than 20 minutes apiece), or that they will need many sessions for hundreds of dollars with these "trainers" who try to use treats and snacks as a distraction for a dog that, at that time, is in a Red Zone. Affection during an unstable state of mind tells me you know ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about dog psychology or pack mentality.
I understand that there are different levels of expertise in any endeavor and there is a place for obedience trainers who use treats with dogs that are in the correct state of mind. But this is not a "one size fits all" occupation. If your dogs does well with treats then please use that. But if they don't, the next option is not to kill them because the so-called "trainer" can't work with them!
This is not a new rant for me; you've read and heard me say to be wary of people who say they're trainers yet don't use instinctual communication with dogs and instead use the bark in their face/throw down cans of coins/use treats/"shock collars for everyone"/etc. approaches toward training. Hey, they have great marketing histories, but do they have successes beyond what their websites exclaim?
On to something different! During the past few months I have made several presentations to different groups statewide that foster or rescue dogs and have been honored to make these talks to great pack leaders who really want to learn more about the dogs that come into their lives. I have been able to work with unknown dogs that were volunteered by their owners, and they have been able to see the reality of what I talk about. I will be working with some folks in south Florida with dog aggressive dogs and, as usual, Koa will be my wing-dog as he has been on numerous occasions and always with a successful result. Koa is a great teacher and I have learned a lot from him!
Go walk your dog and be social, and don't avoid situations but embrace them as a learning experience for you! Our dogs are our teachers and some of our teachers are harder on us to improve and expect more out of us than others! Until the next time, stay calm and smart!