By Charlene Little, Contributing Writer
This topic was inspired by my dog Aztec, you can read the full story here. In short, Aztec was surrendered to the animal shelter, by someone who found him running free. Someone who had spent money on his vaccines, having him neutered, and loving this dog for at least six months before he took off, we thought. He was a purebred Patterdale terrier, his breed runs a pretty penny. Most likely, his family got him from a breeder and spent several hundred dollars on him. Due to lack of training, personality issues, and lack of socialization, he was on death row.
Aztec was considered extremely aggressive and was going to be euthanized, as soon as they could pin him down long enough. He sat guarding his kennel and attempted to bite anyone and everyone who came near him. By a stroke of craziness, we decided to give this little violent dog a chance. Since I volunteer at this animal shelter they decided to give it a try. They liked my previous work with dogs inside the shelter that were considered violent and the training I have done with the ones that I bring home for training. This dog, they had little faith would change.
Truthfully, I had to sign a waiver to take him out of the shelter. The waiver stated that I was responsible for his actions, both physically and financially. I also had to sign stating that I was aware that I was taking home a vicious dog. After the shelter director climbed into his cage and removed him, using welders gloves, we took him home. Removing the cage from the car, he tried to bite our fingers. Our neighbor came over to see what the ruckus was. We explained the situation to him. He gave us a reassuring "good luck," and went on his way.
After getting him in the house, and managing to make it with all of our fingers intact, my boyfriend sat in the computer room alone with Aztec in his cage. He opened the door to this little guy's cage and sat for about an hour and a half with him. After spending that time with this adorable little guy, he decided to trust him. With in the next half hour, we had introduced him to the kids and he was playing with them like he had always been here. We then realized, this little guy had come that close to death because he was scared.
No, I don't recommend that everyone go to the shelter and pick up a vicious dog. Aztec is now my dog, and living proof that there is no behavior that with proper training, cannot be changed or remedied with a few adjustments. Positive integration of a pet into a home involves learning from them, teaching your children how to positively interact with pets of all kinds, and fulfilling your pet's needs. You must also understand their emotions, and listen to their body language to know what they need more, or less of.
In order for a pet to live a fulfilling life, their natural instincts must be met. It is important to realize the history and reasons pets were originally "tamed." This will lead you to understanding what they need. Another important point is to understand how their lives were structured in the past, before the species was tamed. You're probably thinking that it shouldn't matter, it has been centuries since they were tamed. However, their natural instincts are imbedded in their subconscious, they don't even know they are there.
Training helps to recreate their natural pecking order and chain of dominance. It provides positive mental and physical stimulation. It helps teach them who is dominant, so they do not feel that they need to fulfill that role themselves. Training allows you to regulate their behavior and prevent safety issues for your family and your pet.
By not properly training your pet, you are not doing them any favors. It can allow serious issues, such as darting out the door, them taking a dominant role in your home, aggression, or depression in your pet.
This blog was created to help you learn how to positively train your pet, and how to correct problems in a positive way.
Charlene Little is the mother of three wonderful boys and a volunteer foster mom for her local animal shelter. She enjoys working with various breeds of dogs and cats in learning social behavior, training, and how to be the successful member of a fur-ever family. She enjoys studying animals' behavior and finding solutions to behavior problems that the everyday person can handle. She covers topics from various forms of aggression and small problem behaviors. Every problem behavior has a solution, and the solution is never to give up on your pet! Love, kindness, and small adjustments could be just what you need.
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About the Author
Caradwyn Cooper is the mother of three wonderful boys and a volunteer foster mom for her local animal shelter. She enjoys working with various breeds of dogs and cats in learning social behavior, training, and how to be the successful member of a fur-ever family. She enjoys studying animals' behavior and finding solutions to behavior problems that the everyday person can handle. She covers topics from various forms of aggression and small problem behaviors. Every problem behavior has a solution, and the solution is never to give up on your pet! Love, kindness, and small adjustments could be just what you need.