This blog is a tribute to Belle, and all the dogs who have come before and after. They are my friends, my companions, my teachers and my students. They bring me both joy and heartache, laughter and tears. There is nothing as sweet as the smell of puppy breathe, and nothing as sad as the final goodbye.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Should I Call a Dog Trainer?

There are many reasons people give up their dogs. First and foremost it is because of seemingly out of control behavior issues. Issues ranging from destructive chewing, house soiling, uncontrollable barking, jumping, lunging and growling at other dogs to more dangerous behaviors including food guarding, biting and fighting with another dog in the home. The reasons are varied and I could go on and on adding to the list. What matters in the end is that if that dog’s behavior doesn’t change he will end up either re-homed if he is lucky, or more often than not, he will end up in a shelter where he has a good chance of dying.

 I know you love your dog and I know you have reached your limit.  You have poured through training books trying to make sense out of the often conflicting advise you are told. You have listened to your friends, your relatives and the so-called dog experts in your neighborhood or local dog park. But still, the bad behaviors persist, or worse, they become more pronounced. So now you have a choice to make, either get rid of the dog or bite the bullet and seek professional help.

 How I wish you had called me early on, before the bad habits had taken hold. It is so much easier to instill good habits than it is to break bad ones.  If there is one piece of advise I could give to new dog owners it would be this: Don’t wait until your dog’s behavior is out of control or dangerous before you seek professional help. The sooner a problem is dealt with, the easier the fix.  If you’ve never had a dog before, or never had ‘that type’ of dog before, call a trainer. Call us when your 12-week-old puppy can’t play with you without biting. Call us when your puppy is a bundle of energy that seems to never subside. Pay attention to his behavior. If you see behaviors that make you uncomfortable give us a call.  Don’t wait until the choice is between a trainer and a shelter.  There is help out there. It is up to you to ask for it.