by chris mott (firstname.lastname@example.org)
A few weeks ago I was to the point of having a dog that I was going to have to put down. No one wanted an adult male dog with an aggression problem. He would bark at the slightest noise, indimidate strangers and nip at them. Even nip at people he knew. And I even had him fixed a few months ago and he was still like that. The breaking point was when, without a sound, without any kind of warning or indication, he lept through a window to get a cat.
I could not get any pet adoption agencies to even call me back. Everyone will help cats, even puppies, but no one cares about adult dogs.
Then I started talking to dog trainers, selected one and had him come to my house. I put "BUZZ", as in Buzz Light Year (can you tell I have kids), on a leash and the trainer came in. Buzz wanted a piece of him. I was shocked when after only a few minutes the trainer told me to take the leash off. I thought he was crazy. But Buzz went right over to him, put his head in the trainer's lap and rubbed up against the guy. I almost had him frisked to see if he had hot dogs in his pockets. I could not believe it.
It has only been two weeks but things are much better now. People can walk in my house and I am not afraid that Buzz will eat them. People who Buzz once cornered or nipped at now come up and rub his belly. He is learning to not run outside an open front door, and hardly pulls on his leash on walks. He has even almost made friends with the mail lady (I think he is more willing that she is and I don't blame her). I can't believe it's the same dog.
I had been training him but apparently I wasn't doing enough. Primarily because the training method used requires the dog to earn praise. I can't even say "good boy" or pet him unless he does something first. And it has to be something that I have just commanded him to do. He can't just walk over and SIT and expect praise or love. That is a lot harder to do than it sounds. You want to pet and love your dog.
Dog training works. But remember, dog training is as much about training dog owners as it is training the dog.
The above story is hosted by Dog-Play and reprinted with permission of the author from a post in rec.pets.dogs.behavior. I hope to encourage people to deal with behavior problems, knowing that there is often hope. This post, the note at the bottom of the importance of training the owner and other posts by this author shows how much difference a little of the right kind of guidence can make. Dog training isn't rocket science, but few of us are born with talent, we have to learn it.
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Copyright © 1998-2003, Chris Mott
Created: April 24, 1998 Updated November 12, 2007
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