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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

After Leaving the Dog Behaviorist

After telling my tale with an enlightened perspective about our experience with the dog behaviorist that I took Brut to for his aggression with dogs, I found myself reliving the fear that came after.  Like opening an old emotional wound that didn't properly heal.  If you missed yesterday's post, you can read it here.  For some reason this experience and another I encountered with a trainer have been weighing heavy on my mind lately.  I just need to get them off my chest and get them out of my system in the next couple of days.

When I left the dog behaviorist office with Brut , I was in a complete state of shock and gripped with fear.  While trying to process what happened in that room between her, us and Brut, I was frightened.  My mind could not to begin to comprehend what had just happened and worse still, I was leaving with every problem I had came in with and then some.  I still didn't know what to do with Brut.  I had no new method or technique and no ideas.  Nothing.  I felt isolated.  I felt like I lost more than I gained.

She claimed she was the female "Dog Whisperer."  She based her theories on dog pack leadership and clicker training.  Two things I was already doing that were only getting me so far.  I was still crying in desperation for HELP.  I was scared, hurt and angry.  I'd entrusted ourselves and Brut to this woman who was a last resort and I left feeling tore upside and down.  I was lost and alone and felt there was no where I could turn.  I didn't care if Brut was friendly with every dog he met, I needed help with our little pack.  And I have been carrying that fear around for some time now.  

After a good long talk with a friend who'd actually kicked a trainer in the nuts because he kicked her dog, somehow, someway, I began to put back the pieces of this shattered mess.  Number one, I began to learn to trust my instincts.  I looked on line for anything and everything I could find about dogs-on-dog aggression.  And while most of the info was limited due to liability, through my own observations and trial-n-error, we made it through the most difficult time period of Brut's aggression with the other dogs.  Yes, I've made several mistakes, but each one of them gave me another piece of the puzzle to build from.  Having no other options, I had to dig deep to find the answers.  And through this whole process I learned how to trust myself and believe in my capabilities.  I just had to.

And while I have grown and healed through many things working with dogs and being more in tune with them, I hadn't realized until writing that last post how much my actions, thoughts and behavior have been based on that past fear that I left that session with.  Makes me wonder how many others left there feeling the same way being at our most vulnerable and needing help.  The sad thing was I didn't realize the impression she made on me and trusting another human with our dogs.

One thing I did learn out of all of this, is that if I ever did seek out another trainer, I would visit them first without the dog and discuss everything out in the open.  I don't ever want to get caught in the dark like that again.

Tomorrow I tell you about the trainer I talked with over the phone, who made me believe in myself again.

15 comments:

bichonpawz said...

It is wonderful that you have gone to such lengths to help our your Brut.

There are some good ones out there and there are some bad ones...unfortunately!

This sounds very similar to one of my recent vet visits.

Hang in there!

T. Maxx said...

I hear you!
Cant wait to to know more about the trainer!

Cheers,
Maxx and mommy

houndstooth said...

Sometimes you do have to go to great lengths. I'm glad you found something at some point that worked for you!

Sugar the Golden Retriever said...

Woof! Woof! I'll feel the same way. My mom never left me with a trainer alone ... she was always present. Looking forward to read more. Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar

Roscoe Harville said...

I am sorry for the ordeal you are experiencing with dog trainers. It is sad how people/companies can get away with false advertising, etc. I am excited to hear about your recent developments. Hannah can be aggressive towards Roscoe at times and I (mommy) would like to hire a trainer but am afraid because of the exact situation you are going through.

jen said...

I just read your post from yesterday and I am so sorry to read about your bad experience! That is just horrible that she tried to sell herself/products. Sounds like she has lost sight of what she is suppose to be doing.

Brian said...

For what it's worth, I think Brut will believe in you if you believe in yourself!

Sarah said...

I can't wait to hear about the trainer that changed your mind on trainers! I too find it difficult to trust someone with our dogs - we do so much on our own and when it's time to reach out for help, I'm usually at the edge of my knowledge when it comes to training. Finding that right person who gets you to the next step without undoing all that you've done is tough. And I'm not always the best student - I've got way too many opinions!

Kristine said...

I know the feeling all too well. Before we were able to connect with our trainer and find actual help, I felt like my dog was a monster and I was probably the worst dog owner in the whole world. It sounds silly and melodramatic now, but the feelings were real. I was so scared that when we called someone, they were going to take our dog away from us. If only I knew then how many hundreds of other people were experiencing the same issues!

It's hard to believe I once felt so alone and I am so sorry you went through the same things. It sucks. Big time. It makes me angry to think how much damage that one "trainer" did to your family. Angry, and very, very sad. That is not how it is supposed to be at all.

Scrappy said...

feelin' for you.

i can't wait to read the rest....

Kootenai's Summit Post said...

I'm sorry to hear about your bad experience with the dog trainer. It's unfortunate that a trainer would think that controlling a dog physically is going to accomplish anything with any breed. Kicking the dog when the dog was behaving is so far from logical that it makes me want to scream. My mom trains dogs and finds some trainers to be so frustrating. There are great trainers out there and it sounds like you are going to tell us about one tomorrow. No dog is unfixable so keep on barking up that tree!

Pamela said...

Having the confidence to protect our animals when we don't feel like we know what we're doing is the hardest lesson to learn.

It sounds like one you're learning well. And it appears Brut is helping you learn it.

Siku Marie, White Dog said...

The key was throughout everything you never gave up hope on Brut...and THAT is what ultimately makes the difference. No one eill ever know Brut as well as you do which gives you an amazing insight in how to motivate and communicate...one wich a trainer will NEVER have. Follow your gut.

Emily in Wonderland said...

Charlie Brown just started kindergarten a week ago Sunday (he's in a private class since he also has dog-aggression issues) and I totally relate. Your experience with the first trainer... holy cow, so incredibly violating, and I can totally see being too stunned to react- Obviously I did the same thing in the house that day- I was so horrified and afraid I was too paralyzed to even speak. Same thing (smaller scale, but same thing)but if you could go back, wouldn't you have loved to have just screamed your head off about her being a dog abuser? I mean, WTF!

KB said...

That sounds absolutely horrendous. My feeling is that the "dog whisperer" on tv is a terrible trainer. He focuses on dominance and "control" in a very odd way. I've found a trainer around here who uses positive methods, rewarding what you want and ignoring what you don't want (and in the case of aggression, avoiding all triggers until you're ready to very slowly face them). I hope that you find someone good who you can trust.

She actually *kicked* Brut? Unbelievable.