Small changes produce dramatic results
By Jeff Gellman of Solid K9 Training, Jeff specializes in dog training in RI as well as anywhere in the US.
Solomon was given up on. His owner was supposed to teach him, protect him, and love him but instead decided to schedule for Solomon to be killed on Friday, July 20th, 2012 at 12:30 pm in Long Island, NY. Last Chance Animal rescue heard of the news and called me at the last minute, desperate to save this young, healthy dog just two hours before he was to be euthanized, which, in my opinion is not the right term. Solomon was to be executed. He would be disposed of like an item tossed in the garbage and forgotten about.
I told Last Chance Animal Rescue to make sure that vet appointment was kept, but instead of killing the dog, have the vet check him over and update his shots. Then I found myself in New London wondering what kind of person would rather kill a dog than actually teach a dog as I awaited the 5:40 ferry to greet Solomon, who arrived both terrified of his surroundings and frightened for his life.
So what do you do with a dog that has extremely bad habits such as biting children (eight, to be exact), initiating dog many fights, and generally acting out due to extreme stress and improper socialization? Many people and dog trainers would try and coddle a frightened dog. They’d attempt to gently coax him out of the crate, toss treats in, use clickers and sweet talk the dog. Well guess what? This tactic will not work because this won’t actually comfort a dog. Little do these folks realize that by baby talking and tossing treats to the dog in an attempt to dissolve the fear and defensiveness displayed by the dog, they would actually be reinforcing the dog’s current state of mind. Then to make matters worse, more often than not, when the dog remains miserable after days, weeks or even months, they will give up on the dog, assuming that the dog will never change. Then they execute the dog. It’s unfair, unjustified and horrific, yet it remains a truth every day. Millions of dogs are given up on when each one of these dogs deserved a chance.
A dog should never, ever be given up on.
If your dog is having behavior problems and your training approach is not working, then you need to try a different approach. You can dramatically change the behavior of a dog if you choose to also dramatically change how you interact with the dog. Instead of reinforcing the dog’s bad habits, be proactive and lead the fearful dog by immediately bringing new structure and new ways of training into the dog’s life. Change his world, break the old patterns, and teach him new, healthy habits that will be long lasting and life saving using balanced training.
Always remember that when you want to modify a behavior that small changes produce dramatic results.
When you have a dog with a history of biting kids and fighting other dogs, the last thing you should do is avoid kids and other dogs. Instead, you should take the dog out of the kennel, be the leader, and teach the dog to be around other dogs and kids in a peaceful and structured manner, showing him there is a better way to cope with his fear and stress in any uncomfortable situation. Rather than keeping Soloman completely confined and separate from everyone and everything, we had to immediately immerse him into real world situations here at Solid K9 Dog Training. Here, he has been spending twenty- four hours a day with other balanced dogs and eighteen hours a day around balanced humans, including kids. Each and every one of us on my property is rooting for him, with positive, mental attitudes, and Soloman can pick up on this state of mind.
We introduced the structured walk.
We taught him the “place” command, which is important to bring down a dog’s adrenaline levels. When a dog’s adrenaline levels remain high, it usually will lead to undesirable behavior.
One of the most therapeutic training techniques we do here is teach a dog to swim. I introduce every dog to the water, and Soloman was no different.
Over the course of just five days we have made small and consistent changes, because as we all should know by now, there is not one instant solution to any problem with a dog. It takes patience, confidence in the dog and diligence. Small adjustments. Soloman went from being fearful and withdrawn to smiling and interacting with myself, other dogs, and even my daughters. There is still work to do, but in just five days, Soloman has made incredible progress, and will make someone a wonderful companion when he is ready to be adopted. Remember- this was a dog that was to be executed last Friday afternoon at the hands of his owner.
Once again, remember that small changes over time produce dramatic results.
There is a superstar in every dog. Every dog deserves to live out the life they were meant to live, and to never be given up on. Soloman represents the millions of dogs that are killed or in other words executed every day because they didn’t have the chance to be lead, to be taught, and ultimately to be loved.
If you have any questions and want to speak to professional dog trainers in Rhode Island please call Jeff Gellman:
Solid K9 Training
Providence, RI 02908
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