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Brut Quote

Brut Quote

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Did I Just Find a Bad Dog Trainer?

Kristine from Rescue Insanity wrote a post about "How To Find a Good Dog Trainer."  As I read her post, I began reflecting back on our one and only experience with a claimed dog behaviorist that we took Brut to, for help with his dog aggressive issues.  Here are some examples from our one time session.

Trust Your Gut-When I look back at the entire experience, the first red flag was when I went on this behaviorist website, I didn't feel comfortable at all.  I had a bad feeling right from the start.  Our options were limited in such a rural area and I was desperate.  I had to do something and I was willing to give her the benefit of doubt before casting her out.  

Helping or Selling?-The second red flag was that she was more focused on selling herself and what she could do with our dog and what we couldn't.  Hence the reason we were there.  It was if she was giving a performance so that we would buy her product, herself.  There was little, if any communication between her and us as she focus all her energy trying to control Brut.  I guess so that we would be in awe and wonder.  She didn't take any time in getting know Brut or relating to us.  She concentrated heavily on trying to "get Brut under her control."  She never succeeded.  Brut was a little too smart for her and he played with her quite teasingly.

This behaviorist claimed she had owned Huskies before, yet none of her actions displayed the amount of respect that Huskies demand being such  an independent breed.

How is the Behaviorist Behavior?-She was rather high strung and nervous and seemed a bit flighty.  Not what I would expect from a trainer who is taking on a strange aggressive dog.  She also tended to blow us off, as if neither of us had any idea what we were talking about when it came to our our dog.  It seemed her entire goal was to "calm" Brut by any means possible to "get control of him".  Mostly with calming sprays.  The couple of times my husband got a business call and left the room she doused Brut with sprays.  She did this with the notion if she could calm Brut she could convince my husband of her services.  (another ploy to sell her "product")  What she failed to recognize was even though I was one that had made the desperate call, was the one who had to be convinced.  The more she seemed to lose control the harder she tried to get it and ultimately became her entire focus for our session. 

Always trust your gut.  Or at least me.
Methods?  Training Techniques?  Do They Explain Everything?-Near the end of our stay Brut was quietly sleeping at our feet while we were talking, this is when she proceeded to kick him.  I believe she was testing to see if he would react.  It was so swift and silent, I almost wasn't sure if it had happened.  After all of the pages and pages she had me fill out on his background, she had kicked him without any prior consent, no explanation and we were such a state of shock, neither of us knew what to do.

It seemed as I look back throughout that entire session she was doing everything to push his buttons and force him to react.  Something that was definitely not stated anywhere in our agreement or as part of her methods.  She also made Brut sounds as if was in a worse state of mind than what we had stated.  Yes, I know he isn't the ideal dog, but I also know when I filled out that questionnaire Brut was in much better shape than most of the examples that were given.

And while I disagreed with her methods, I understand some of what she was trying to show, like how far a stranger could push Brut before he would snap.  I was quite disgusted that we were not informed on any of her methods or how she went about testing him.  Not when we spoke over the phone, not in her agreement, nothing on her website and not while she was trying out all her tricks on Brut.  Nothing.  Not one word.  We were just spectators.  Being that this was our first time ever going to anyone on the outside for help, we were totally clueless if this was how things were suppose to go or not.

How Does Your Dog React To Them?-And how did the all mighty Brut handled this extreme encounter?  Like a champ.  Number one, he was too smart for her games.  He was in no way going to let her have any control over him and so he played the cat and mouse game with her.  Just enough to show he had the control but just enough to keep her guessing.  I have no idea if he open his eyes when she kicked him, but he didn't even flinch.  In her efforts, she never did "get him under control" which is why I think she pushed the envelope with kicking him.  He was hyper, maybe a little high strung, but only lost his composure once, when he jumped in her face.

And if all of these signs weren't enough, Brut sent out his own red flag.  He peed on her desk leg while she sat at her chair before we even started.  :)    

 Just try to mess with me!!


Prudence said...

Mom says, Always trust your feelings! Thanks fur stopping by my blog, we'll be following you now too. Mom thinks she can learn a lot from your pack!

Sage said...

Hehe--sounds like Brut told her! Yes, you made the right decision. We've been working with a trainer/behaviorist and he's (fortunately) nothing like the one you tried.

Anonymous said...

Good job Brut!!! Dogs just know. Crazy how that is always the moral of a good story!

Shane Kent Louis said...

Yes! You really made it Brut! congratz!

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White Dog Blog said...

Our rule is trust your feelings and if you need a second opinion, trust your dog...they are ALWAYS right!

bichonpawz said...

Brut is very smart! BOL! He showed her!!

Always trust the gut!

The Daily Pip said...

Yep, always trust your gut - it never lies! Sounds like Brut's gut was telling him the same thing about the behavorist!

Your pal, Pip

Kristine said...

From the sounds of things, it was a good move not hiring her again. I know many disagreed with me, but this is why I think a website is important. It can give clue as to the kind of trainer someone is. For instance, my trainer offers free advice on her website for basic problems. Just by looking at her suggestions, you can tell a lot about the kind of person and trainer she is. That helped me make the decision to call her. What's more, I instantly trusted her the moment she walked in the door.

I always say how lucky we were to find the right people back then. We knew nothing about training or the differences between dominance and positive reinforcement. But I think in part my instincts led me in the right direction.

I am so glad for you that yours did too.