Here’s my story on why I got a trainer and why I can’t imagine my life without the tools that I am now equipped with moving forward. There is no shame in asking for help- I promise, you and your dog will appreciate it.
Paws for Life K9 had a dog available with this massive head, gorgeous brown eyes, and a little tie that was way too small for his large body. I was in love and applied immediately to foster. When he showed up, his tail stayed tucked between his legs and he sniffed around our house slowly. With the discovery of his toy bin, his body position changed and he grabbed every toy out of the bin to test them out and became an immediate part of our lives.
Chase was doing really well and we kept up his training that he had already received from Paws for Life. Part of the deal was that he was not dog friendly. That hadn’t been a problem so far as we were really aware of his needs and avoided testing the problem to the best of our abilities. Whenever there is a dog, we crossed the street to prevent any confrontation & tried to keep most of our walks to large sidewalks with room to move off in the event that a passing is unavoidable.
On one of our lunch walks, there was a lady and her small dog on the last stretch of sidewalk before our house. Chase was already in his correct position of a heel. With no other way home and a dog approaching from behind us, I yelled to the lady ‘my dog is not friendly.’ Her response ‘well, my dog is!’
I reiterated again, that my dog really doesn’t like other dogs and I wouldn’t want there to be an incident between the two dogs. Chase was still doing very well at this point while we were trying to figure out what to do, her dog started sprinting towards us on a retractable leash (that wasn’t be retracted.) Chase started to break his heel and I corrected him.
After stating ‘my dog isn’t friendly’ again, I walked us into the road (praying that traffic wouldn’t pick up) and told her that we were just going to try and enter our driveway. Not only did she blatantly not listen, but she allowed her dog once again to start barreling towards Chase into the road so that they could greet. This was too much for Chase to handle and he growled and immediately lunged towards the dog.
Upon this sign of aggression, the lady was so disgusted that she reprimanded me for bringing my dog out in public to which I politely reminded her of all my statements about my dog’s disposition.
Why I got a trainer:
Chase handled that scenario to the best of his abilities. I didn’t handle it to the best of mine and I needed better tools to make Chase feel that I was in charge and I can handle the scenarios. My actions caused him distress and I needed to be more equipped in handling that in the future.
We went to a trainer in Los Angeles named Blue Man Dog. Mia taught us everything from an appropriate walking position, which is not next to me, but rather slightly behind me to ways to command Chase that makes him feel more confident following my lead. We worked through these situations over and over to the point where eventually, we are able to pass right by a dog with no reaction what-so-ever.
There are many options in ways and programs you can follow to train this dog. I had trained all my family’s dogs in the past without an issue- why couldn’t I help Chase? However, Mia reminded me that I need to train the dog I have in front of me, not the one that I had or my neighbors have, or even the dog I want. Train the dog I have.
Each dog is going to be a little different and I can tell you that my 7-year old stubborn Staffy/Bulldog mix needed training that I needed a professional’s advice.
Our bond has become better than ever