I train dogs throughout Maricopa County. I have been in most neighborhoods and train all types of dogs. Yesterday, I had and evaluation and lesson set up for an aggressive pit bull near Sky Harbor airport. Not a safe dog. Not a safe neighborhood. Lots of people wish they had my job, but they are not aware of some of the situations I encounter. In this case, the owner’s mom said she was afraid of her son’s dog, and proceeded to set up an evaluation and lessons.
I have been around countless dangerous dogs, including some pit bulls. I am very cautious in my preparations for such situations so as to not get injured. When I first started working with dangerous dogs, I didn’t have a good plan. People let their dogs loose out the front door and had to jump back in my car just before the dog got to me. Those days are long gone. Back then I didn’t realize people would think it was OK to endanger the dog trainer. They let the dogs loose to “show” me what the dog was like, figuring that was how to do it.
I have also been in countless dangerous neighborhoods. I have a lot of stories. Maybe I should write a book about some of what I’ve encountered. So, when I went to this appointment, I had already scoped out the streets in advance, and knew that this was a part of town where there had been numerous armed robberies, aggravated assaults, and a few murders, just in the past year.
It turned out, in this case, that the pit bull was a super social nice dog. The owner was a nice guy. The place where we met was in a light industrial park, and I felt safe there. We’ve set up to do some basic obedience, and all is well.
But, there have been times where I had to get out of there, mainly because I wasn’t in a safe place. In one case, I stayed about 15 minutes and left. Not only was it a very bad neighborhood, even the owners were scared of where they lived, and all the signs were there that I shouldn’t stick around. I never did get a chance to work with his dog. In other cases, I accomplished the lesson, but didn’t feel safe the entire time.
Most of the time, all is pretty suburban and easy. Not always. Dog training is an adventure in dogs and humans. You have to maintain good situational awareness. Because of my years of experience, I am also able to teach dog owners about better safety.
Today, my lessons are near where I live, and all is good.