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This is why I train dogs...

Recently I was on a training walk with a client and we approached two dogs and their owner. During the first pass, she commented on how well-mannered my dog was and I told her that I was just his trainer and the owners deserve most of the credit.

Later we passed them again, and her dogs started fighting each other. She desperately tried to stop them, began crying and asked if I could throw a business card on the ground because she would like to hire me.

Her “problem dog” Micah was ready to bite me during my first visit, so I grabbed a Chuckit! and began feeding him through it. By the end of this visit he was comfortably following me and taking food from my hand.

During the second visit we worked on muscle memory exercises for eventual focused heel walking with his owner. The owner was amazed how well Micah was doing and that he had no desire to bite me.

Our third visit was even better. Micah started to master some of the exercises the owner and I taught him. A neighbor that Micah bit a few months ago was outside and I asked him to come into the yard. I explained that I was a trainer and would keep everyone safe. Within a few minutes Micah and the neighbor dropped the guards and the neighbor was freely petting Micah.

Progress is often slower than in this case and Micah still has a long way to go, but helping the owner and dog with their confidence, installing some new skills, and building upon existing training can go a long way in repairing a fractured relationship.

Mike Armstrong CPDT-KA

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