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.
Current blog look inspired by, dedicated to, and in memory of Brut. The studded star of the 24 Paws of Love.