I was discussing dogs with friends at my mother’s surprise 60th party last weekend. A couple complained that their dog is uncomfortable with other dogs, and with people having close contact (hugging, shaking hands). They stated that they were afraid their dog would attack the neighbor’s small poof ball dog that runs along the fence taunting their dog. Mentioning some trainers nearby, I suggested the one I went to, which is mearly 5 minutes away. I also mentioned it will tak e a lot of work to help your dog, but it’s worth it. Her quick reply was that she is going to try leaving the dog with a “dog whisperer” type for a night….then miracle! The next day pick your dog up and they are fine with EVERYTHING!!
Wow. This “dog whisperer” must create miracles. She went on to say it’s quicker and less work than classes. In America we always want a quick fix don’t we? Yeah, drop your dog off and all of a sudden in one night everything is okay, they will be running with the “pack”. I shudder at thinking what these people must do to create a miracle???? Shock the dog? Hit it? Yell in it’s face “chh, chhh!!!” If a dog is truly reactive and they force it in a pen with other dogs, that would be flooding ( a technique people think will help the dog by essentially bringing a dog to it’s triggers and surrounding them over threshold). This is a horrible idea. Flooding is an old technique, though of to help dogs who are scared of something by overexposing them to it, or flooding them. Flooding is a bad idea in any situation. Some trainers still use it and recommend it, but I would think more than twice about using it. It happened to our dog (not purposely), but we wish we could go back in time. Not only does it not help and scare the bejesus out of your dog, they regress and can/will get much worse. Our dog is much more fearful. It is not only our experience, but I have read countless stories. Think of the word “flooding”. Is a flood a good thing? Is it something you would like to experience? Literally? Or let’s think of flooding in dog terms. Let’s say you are super super scared of spiders like my sister-in-law. She screams and runs out of the house when she sees one, and can’t calm down for days, constantly looking around. Let’s imagine you are her, and we decide to flood you-let’s put you in a room with the door locked so you can’t escape, and put spiders everywhere. They are covering the walls, the bed, and even crawling on you!!??? Do you think you would come out of that less fearful of spiders because somehow you realized they are okay?
Back to the miracle worker. This couple wants to leave their dog there and commented about how their dog is a stray, fearful dog. I tried to slide in some words of advice, but they continued to say that they read people’s comments on the site about how it really worked, so it must work. Would you leave your child alone with a stranger for a night? Very odd how people can leave their dog with a complete stranger, at their house or facility, and let them do whatever they need to do to have your dog behave. My guess is that people get the dogs back and they are shut down. What I mean by shut down is dogs who have bowed out. They have decided that life is too scary, they will mope around and be nonresponsive. Many people get their dogs back and think wow…MIRACLE!!! But in fact, the dog has been abused, or scared so much that they have decided to shut down and be away from life (not care).
People…DON’T LET YOUR DOG STAY WITH STRANGERS!!!!!