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UPDATE:Lucky successfully completed his Level One Obedience Training and was promptly adopted by a very nice family with another black Labrador about Lucky's size. They consider themselves (in their own words) "lucky to have Lucky." A special thanks to the woman who relinquished him. It is sometimes too easy to pass judgement, but it takes a good person to do what is best for a dog.
I find great satisfaction in my work as a dog trainer in Denver, Colorado. There are many things about my job that make me feel like my time has been well-spent.
For example, helping a dog with severe behavior problems stay in its home makes my day worth the hours I spend on I-25. So does watching the human-canine bond grow between my clients and their dogs. However, one of the things I enjoy most is training a raw dog (that is, a dog that knows nothing at all) and watching him grow into a great companion animal for some lucky adopter.
In this four-part series, we will examine the nature of fearfulness and discuss appropriate ways to manage fearful dogs and help them cope with their phobias. To start the series, let's look at why dogs may become fearful.
When someone has a very problematic dog, I (the dog trainer) am usually the last person to know. But when I finally do hear about it, I encounter a lot of human frustration: someone at their wits' end because their dog has destroyed an expensive sofa, shredded a mattress, or uninstalled some linoleum; or someone who is feeling angry and betrayed because their dog bit them or a family member.
"What if somebody asks to pet my dog?" It is a question I often get from clients with fearful dogs.
Yesterday, my wife and I took a trip into the mountains to see the autumn leaves. After driving the Peak to Peak Highway and enjoying the yellow and orange aspen collages spattered throughout the evergreen forests, we stopped by Mary's Lake to let Alie (our Labrador Retriever) splash around for a while.
Once everybody was satisfied, wet, smelly and tired, we headed into Estes Park for an ice cream and coffee. Estes is a surprisingly dog-friendly Colorado town, and I was encouraged by the number of signs on shop windows indicating dogs were welcome inside.
Sojourners Coffee and Tea, owned by Michael Brown, is a great coffee shop in Denver, Colorado. They sell delectable locally made pastries, coffee, tea and delicious panini sandwiches at an affordable price. It also provides a comfortable, serene environment for social activities such as meetings, hanging out with friends, or even talking to the friendly employees.
As a dog trainer in Denver, Colorado, I occasionally am asked to train dogs who are skittish, suspicious, or downright fearful of me. Since most dog training requires me to be in close proximity to the dog, this can be problematic - in more ways than one.
Children have little inhibition around strange dogs and often will charge right in for the hug. While a well socialized dog may tolerate such an approach, a more shy dog may move behind its owner, try to run or even bite.
Whether the dog is well socialized or not, children should be taught how to approach a dog, and owners should understand how to handle the inevitable approach of children.
I. Thou shalt keep thy dog current on his shots. Your dog can contract diseases from the things it tastes on the ground, from insects that bite him, and even from other dogs' saliva. For a few bucks, you can protect him from a miserable death. There are discount clinics all over the place, so sacrifice a few lattes for your dog.
Clients often ask about the best venue for training their dogs. There are three basic options: group classes, private lessons, and board and train services. Each has its benefits and drawbacks. There are five considerations when making your decision: your goals, your dog's needs, effectiveness, convenience and pricing. Below are my thoughts on each training venue.
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