Matt Potter 12:30 p.m., Dec. 9
ACME K9 Services: Tell your trainer the truth!
The other day I wrote about a close call I had with a dog I am working with. I am still losing sleep over that dog. I will probably think about him for the rest of my life.
No trainer wants to lose a dog. I don't, and I don't know any that do. Even the bad trainers don't want to lose a dog. It does not always work that way.
When I met this dog I did the normal intake interview that I always do. I expect people to not tell me the entire truth. They don't mean to lie to me; they just don't want to tell the entire story. This is a classic case of that, exaggerated but still the norm.
When I met the owner he told me that the dog had bitten people a couple of times. Ok, well, we can deal with that. Well, if that is the truth.
Today I worked with the dog and when I was done I took him home. When I got there the owner was gone but his roommates were there. They started to talk and opened up as the conversation went along.
The dog had not bitten someone a couple of times. This dog had a confirmed history of 15 bites. Not one of these bites had been reported. All of the bites had happened to people who were friends of the owner and the roommates. Fifteen bites is not just a problem, it is a HUGE problem. Had the owner been honest with me in the beginning I would have taken a different approach to the problem.
I don't know if a different approach would have made any difference but this I do know. Tomorrow I will have to talk to a couple of other trainers that I respect and value their opinion. Right now I do not feel good about the outcome of the brainstorm.
Do you have any idea how heart wrenching it is for a trainer to tell someone that their dog might be better off on the other side? It is not easy. We get into this business because we want to help. Geeze, I still hope that I can. I am even willing to pay for a consultation out of my own fee just because I want to give this dog all of the help I can. I pray for this dog every morning and night. If it works out I will remember this dog the rest of my life. If it does not I will dream (sort of) of this dog the rest of my life. I hope I remember him.
On the last blog someone asked me what I meant about him becoming frustrated. I meant that I got bit. Trainers who work with aggressive dogs don't like to be bit but they realize that might come with the territory. What they don't, or can't, except is that they can't fix what causes the bite.
God bless this dog. Give me the knowledge to help him. Thank you.