I have been slow to join the many … MANY voices in the dog training world, it felt a bit redundant. Dog training is an odd profession, everyone is an expert, commentators on dog behavior range from PhD animal behaviorist to someone with a neighbor who owns a dog. It’s not that I don’t have opinions about how to live with dogs, how to train them etc., in fact I have pretty strong positions on all of that. I just felt that many others were expressing my positions pretty well, so I let it go. But then I noticed something. Whenever a child is bitten, and that happens WAY to often, every one chimes in on what should be done, what should have been done, but there is very little helpful commentary on the matter.
So, I think I have something to contribute to the conversation. I actually brought a baby into a family with 2 dogs and a cat. One of my dogs was a large Rottie mix (she is in the pic with my son, he was 2 at the time), the kind of dog that family insists must go when the baby comes along. That was so not an option.
Before I had my son, I was a hardcore dog person. I thought kids were the bane of a dogs existence. Of course, this was all based on “personal experience”, like the time I was at a horse show with my big beautiful Rottie mix and a 3 year old boy walks right up to her and whacks her with a stick. SERIOUSLY!? I wasn’t actually a trainer yet, but I knew in my bones that if all my dog knew about kids was that they sneak up and whack you with a stick, I would soon have a 95 pound problem on my hands, so I made a plan to create positive kid experiences for her to help her forget about that little demon child.
It all had a very happy ending, I was very lucky that she was not really affected by the kid that whacked her and I lived in an area where there were lots of families with lovely kids. I had my son a few years later and they went on to become great friends until she finally left us at the ripe old age of 16. We also went on to have more dogs and my son has grown into a hard core dog person himself.
Now I can look back and see that I did a lot of “right” things just on instinct. I went on to educate myself about dog training and the latest science of dog behavior. My mission and my passion has become training the family dog and teaching kids how to understand and happily live with dogs. So, to that end, I will be sharing experiences and thoughts on life with dogs, and hopefully help spread the word.