29 May 2011

For better or worse?

A conversation arose today concerning a man and his small, white terrier-type dog who were staying at a nearby campsite.  One lady spoke of how she nearly got her nose bitten whilst stroking the dog, a man told how the dog had bitten the back of his leg as he passed by, and there were various other tales of bites, near bites and launched attacks.

Then someone said about the man, "But he's worked so hard with him, he's so much better now than he was."

Trying to imagine the most ferocious little white terrier I possibly could, I asked, "What on earth was he like before?"
The reply, "Oh really scared and nervous of people, he'd cower with his tail between his legs or run away."
"And so in what way is he better now?" I said.
They got my point.
The moral of the story?  If in the process of trying to change a nervous dog's behaviour what you are doing is causing it to become aggressive, you are doing it wrong.  Your dog is not getting better, it is getting worse.  So stop kidding yourself.  Re-evaluate what you are doing.  Get professional help before your 'training' causes your dog to bite someone who makes a complaint that results in you having to have your dog PTS.  Because it really doesn't have to end like that.

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