You always have a choice

I recently started working with a dog whose name I will protect because he is innocent. This dog came from a very high kill shelter in another part of the country and was adopted by my client. My client soon discovered that his dog was not very good with other dogs and had actually bitten another dog while doing an introduction between his dog and another dog at his home. The bite was very quick and did not do much damage but a bite is still a bite. my client then sought out professional help for his dogs aggression towards other dogs as well as his reactivity to children. my client had no idea of what to expect other than he needed help

My client told me that the trainer put his dog in a small room with a muzzle that was not conditioned or trained in anyway to his dog and was then surrounded by two small dogs, one of the dogs immediately mounted my clients dog. His dog just shut down because he probably felt he had no choice. From there it got much worse for my client and his dog. The trainer recommended they go to a local dog park with a muzzle on his dog, the trainer then brought my clients dog pretty close to the park and when my clients dog would look at a dog or dogs he hit the dog with bean bags, my client asked why he needed to do that? The trainer said that this was what was needed to break his dogs bad habits around dogs. It did not work.

The next phase of the training was to take his dog around kids to stop his aggression towards children. This time the dog was forced to watch children while being hit with you guessed it more bean bags. The kids were with their teacher and the teacher screamed at the trainer and asked what in the hell he was doing? The trainer said he was doing his job and it was none of her business, she called the police. There was so much wrong with this training I could write a book about it but I wanted to make a point that not only did the dog learn that kids and dogs are not safe to be around but the kids also learned that dogs were not safe to be around. This did not need to happen but my client did not know what else to do. I felt sorry for everyone involved as it could have been a great opportunity if my client knew he had more choices.

There has to be a point when you know what you are doing is completely wrong and stop and think about what you are doing. What this trainer did made no sense and has made this dog much worse. I am thankful my client has chosen to go a different way to help his dog thus the title of the story, you always have a choice. If it does not feel right then question the trainer and their methods, before the trainer puts you and your dog into a situation where you know your dog cannot handle it then you also have a choice by telling the trainer that your dog is not ready for this. Be the voice for your dog because they do not have one, question the trainers methods and their intentions before they ever work with your dog. Just because they say they are dog trainers doesn’t mean anything if they are not willing to discuss their methods with you and give references freely and have you and your dogs best interest first and foremost. remember you always have a choice when it comes to who is going to work with you and your dogs, you do not need permission to make that choice.

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