When we watch dog trainers on television we often think, "Oh what a great job! They must be living the dream." Well, for the most part that would be correct. No one can, or would, stay in this line of work unless they have an great passion for dogs. And to be able to be working with your passion is fantastic. This passion is not a slobbering smooching kind of passion but a deep respect and compassion for our four legged friends. I guess where I am heading with this is that it is not always like you see it on television. Some days, and some dogs, bring us lost sleep, lack of appetite and wondering what has gone wrong.
One of my teachers in this profession told me never to let your guard down around dogs with an aggressive history. That is impossible to do all of the time but luckily for me I do it most of the time. Today I was very glad I did.
I am working with a dog now that is people and dog aggressive. After bonding with him for two weeks we were out for our training session today and he became frustrated and came up the leash at me. I only received a glancing bite but that was luck combined with knowledge of how to handle the situation.
The hardest part of this day was not in getting back on a good footing with the dog. The hardest part of this day was the setback and the gnawing feeling that maybe this dog is beyond being helped. Maybe he is hardwired to be aggressive. Maybe not. Dog trainers are a idealist lot. We think we can help all the dogs that cross our path. I hope I can. I may be his last chance and that is really the hardest part of this day.
Tomorrow is a new day. Maybe the breakthrough will come then. If it does it won't be on t.v.