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Brut Quote

Brut Quote

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Dog Behaviorist experience with Brut

This was playtime and isn't as awful as it looks, but I just love this picture of Brut on the attack!

When Brut was about a year and half old we took him to a dog behaviorist for his aggression.  This was before Blaze and  Chance came back and we only had the Back Dogs at this time.  The conflicts between Brut and the puppies, Zappa and Fiona had been increasing and I found myself not knowing what to do. 

This behaviorist was the only one within 100 mile radius.  After checking out her website, I didn't have a good feeling about her.  I wasn't sure what it was, just a gut feeling, but with our options limited, I tried to keep an open mind and went to the appointment anyways. 

For someone who deals with aggressive and problematic dogs she was extremely flighty and very nervous.  She practiced in "holistic healing."  None of this was specified on any of her forms or her website.  When my husband left to check on the puppies in the car, she started spraying Brut with a "calming" spray, without my permission.  Then she tried a different spray when my husband had to take a call, again trying to calm Brut.  This added to my suspicion about her motives.  She was trying desperately to convince my husband when actually it was me who was uncomfortable with her.

She also used the art of Reiche, which is a form of controlling the energy in a room and the people or animals in it.  She was trying to show Brut she was the one in control while trying to calm him down.  I have some knowledge of the art and did not approve of her using it on Brut.  Another method she used without my permission and almost without my knowledge.   

She went through the process of demonstrating "clicker training," and then discuss "Pack Leadership Training."  It was at this point that Brut was laying at our feet asleep when she kicked him on purpose to get his reaction.  This was the final straw.  I don't care what your practice or treatments are but kicking him for any reason was not acceptable to us.  I don't care how great she was or that she was the only one if the area.  We were never coming back. 

This is what we received for our time and money.   "Clicker Training" which I'd already been using on Brut since he was eight weeks old.  Pack Leadership Training which I'd also been using with the "Clicker Training"  A bottle of calming spray I've only used a couple of times with no results.

Brut handled the entire episode like a trooper.  He's never had any aggression with people, only dogs. She talked of a FOUR hour session to break his aggression with dogs.  We just let her talk.  We were still in utter shock at the fact she had kicked our dog.  A dog that had a rough beginning.  He didn't need that and we definitely didn't need her.  This is how we found ourselves on our own in helping Brut and the rest of the Back Dogs. 

I am now very cautious with any dog trainer/behaviorist.  I had to fill out pages and pages of questions before going to see this "specialist" and yet she didn't seem to take any of this information into consideration.  She didn't clarify her methods and did not ask for my permission to spray Brut or using the art of Reiche on him.  The fact that she kicked a previous abused dog was cruel, inhumane and beyond comprehension.  We are still shocked that it happened.  Just because someone claims to be a dog trainer or behaviorist does not mean they are the right one for you and your dog.  Test them out, ask them questions.  Don't assume that what is on their website or brochure has everything that is part of their training and evaluation.  Trust your gut.  If something doesn't feel right, it probably isn't.  When I saw her website, I knew something wasn't right.  If anything I should have investigated further.  We learned a valuable lesson from our experience.  No one knows our dogs better than we do and we've learned to trust our gut when it comes to them.


♥♥ The OP Pack ♥♥ said...

The gut feeling usually wins, but when you were desperate for help for Brut, it is easy to see why you decided to seek this woman's help. We would have been so upset that she kicked the dog, we don't know we could have even stayed for the rest of her spiel. We are so glad you didn't go back.

Maggie Mae and Max said...

Mom says she prolly would have kicked her back! :) If only mom had gone wif her gut after our first trainer (last year) told her I would never gets along wif other dogs my situation would be different. We are now working wif someone who understands me and mom says dat I am getting much better at making new furiends, but we have a lot of catching up to do....we will get there. :) Tanks fur sharing!

Woofs and Licks,
Maggie Mae

Sage said...

Wow, this person should never be working with dogs. Maybe she needs a behaviorist!

It's unfortunate you and Brut had such a bad experience, but it sounds like your instincts were right on target.

Sychoberians said...

Wow, a calming spray? That would totally not work on us.

Poor Brut, glad you are out of there and in a no kicking zone, sheesh, what a quack

Remy and Flash

FiveSibesMom said...

You are so right about the "gut" instinct. I am furious at her tactics, especially the KICKING? And she calls herself an expert? Wow. Unbelievable. I'm glad Brut was so good...and he had cause not to be. I used the pheromone calming spray with one of Sibe when he was just a pup and experiencing separation anxiety from being when we first separated him from sleeping with his other sister and brother together (in a puppy pile!) I used it on a pillow outside the kennel door...NOT on my Sibe! And she never asked for your permission for any of her tactics...how wrong. I sure hope no one else goes to her. How you held your cool, it's amazing! I am fortunate that I learned from a terrific "dog whisperer" here. She is a great behaviorist that I've learned a lot from. It's scary how many people think they are an expert. Both you and Brut were both troopers in my book!