Tension In The Home – Dog Training – Dog Trainer – Behaviorist
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PHOENIX, AZ AREA: (602) 708-4531
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When dog owners focus on everything a dog is doing wrong, it has profoundly negative effects on their dog. Dogs get stressed, sometimes stop listening altogether, others defy everything the owner demands (even to the point of aggression), the dog gets hectic and almost displays ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) symptoms, and most do some kind of escape behavior.
None of this has to happen.
I remember working with one couple who had an 8 month old purebred dog. They hired me to train their dog because things had gotten to the point that they were intolerable.
The problems were numerous: The dog would
a.) jump up on their small kids and knock them down, often mouthing them with her teeth;
b.) run around the house and destroy things, especially the kids toys;
c.) not walk on a leash without pulling like a freight train;
d.) not obey anything the owners commanded;
e.) potty in the house
f.) jump up on and harass guests
g.) also do a whole variety of other irritating things in and outside the home.
As I got to know the dog and the people, it soon became obvious that regardless of what I taught the dog (and it was a highly trainable and nice dog) and owners, the owners wouldn’t consistently follow through and do what I instructed. Instead, they got mad at me for the ongoing problems. Every Friday, I had the dog doing some amazing obedience and the dog was pretty well mannered. When I came back on Monday, it was like the dog had never been trained, and I’d hear all about the things that went wrong, and all the stupid things the owners did that went 100% against what I had taught them. And they’d be mad at me again for their dog not being well behaved. It was exasperating. I’d have to explain, patiently, again and again, why the dog was doing what it was doing, and why what they were doing or not doing was the root cause of the problems they were having. They didn’t listen, instead opting to either banish their dog to a crate or kennel for hours and hours every day.
Simple things weren’t done, like letting the dog out when it signaled that it had to go potty. They never had time to exercise the dog, and this breed needed lots of exercise in order to be calm. They wouldn’t do any of the lessons with the dog for more than a couple of days, then I’d find out that they hadn’t done anything for days and days. Instead of practicing techniques I taught on how to teach the dog not to jump up on the kids, they bought their son a football helmet to wear around the house, and would tell him to run from the room the dog was in. Instead of teaching the dog how to bring an object in its mouth to them and to drop it, they’d chase the dog down in anger, pin it down, take the toy away, and trigger the dog to pee all over the floor out of fear. This went on for weeks and weeks. I asked them why they got a dog. They said they had wanted a dog that would just hang out with them, pretty much describing an older dog, a couch potato. Unfortunately, for them and the dog, this wasn’t that kind of dog. This was a young, vigorous, playful, energetic working dog who needed lots of attention, patience and consistent training and handling. They said they didn’t have time for that kind of thing. I offered to find the dog a new home, since I knew a breeder who did rescue who had told me he’d take the dog and find it a good home. They didnt want to do that. So, they didn’t want to work the dog, didn’t want to supervise or train the dog, they just wanted the problem fixed, without any work on their part, not letting the dog be who she was. Training can do a lot of things, but it can’t transform your dog from one breed into another, from a puppy into an adult, from being what it is into what you want.
Eventually, they started asking about getting an electric collar, which I refused to agree to. Then they started cancelling lessons, coming up with reasons why they were too busy to do the training. It was a mess. I talked with them multiple times about what they were doing. They’d say they wished they could be patient with their dog like I was. They’d say they didn’t have the time to spend with their dog. It was a no win situation for the dog. I showed them proper methods that work with ALL my students, and they didn’t do any of them, always reverting to doing things that they were doing before they hired me.
I still feel sorry for that dog. I gave them nearly 2 months of extra free daily lessons in the hopes that I could convince them to change how they were treating their dog.
You can’t change people. Even today I worry what happened to their dog.