There is nothing worse than having to visit a home where the dog is under consideration for euthanasia.
It is morbid and, to be frank, quite sad.
On one such occasion, I was asked to consult about a dog that had bitten a young child.
The dog was a seven month old Labradoodle.
The family home was lovely and clean. The children were home schooled and the dog had everything he needed to be happy and calm.
However, the incident was like so many I had seen before.
The boy had bent down to pick up the dog’s favourite toy and the dog had grabbed him on the arm. There was no blood; just bruising where the dog’s teeth had connected.
The family were mortified and couldn’t understand what had happened.
I discovered that they had been encouraged by a previous trainer to use physical punishments on the dog.
This involved smacking his nose when he was naughty and laying on top of him if he got too excited.
This was all I needed to know that the dog was just doing to the boy what had been done to him.
When you use the techniques like those described above you are telling your dog that it is okay to use force and violence against those in your ‘pack’ who you are not happy with.
This is usually a child because it can take a while for the dog to accept them as being higher in the pack than they are.
I put the dog (and the owners) on a training program that involved only reward, based training techniques.
The children were also warned off touching the dog’s toys in the meantime but they were encouraged to get involved with the dog’s training and playtime as much as possible.
And everyone lived happily ever after!