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There are some facts that every potential buyer should know and accept before investing in a “protection dog.” In this short article I’ll detail a few critical areas that might help.
I’ve recently had two people who got their feelings hurt by something I said tell me I don’t know anything about training dogs. I could counter this by simply saying that after 35 years at it how could I not know ANYTHING? So, even if I only knew one thing that would mean that they are 100% incorrect and basing their hatred on hurt feelings not facts. I said all of that to get to this. I don’t know everything but I do know a good dog when I see one and I know those who show potential or don’t as well. I’m basing this article on that knowledge.
A well trained protection dog is an expensive investment for almost anyone of any income level. We have sold dogs to many hard working, average folks who needed the protection. And, we have sold many dogs to those in what I guess we must say is the higher socioeconomic realm. The number one thing I have found is that all of the buyers of an expensive dog seem to often have unrealistic expectations. Many think you can somehow tell a dog who has been trained by an experienced handler for 3 years that they no longer want him and he is being sent to a new home. The dog is supposed to be OK with something that even a human wouldn’t. Tell one of your kids you are selling him tomorrow and shipping him away forever and see what happens.
So, the expectation that a new dog will arrive and hop right out of the crate and be perfect in every way is not only unrealistic but silly. When you meet a new friend do you act the same at first as you will in 6 months, 2 years or 10 years? I tend to keep my guard up a little until I know I can trust someone and that trust is built on time together. Why do we expect any animal to arrive and instantly trust us when we know that dogs have a nature of not being fully trusting until they know you? If we sell you a protection dog who trusts everyone instantly doesn’t that sort of make the whole point a little stupid?
Price and payment doesn’t win a dog’s trust. Whether you are a farmer, doctor, lawyer, college student or celebrity makes no difference to a dog either. We have sold dogs to many people in all of those groups and guess what? Sometimes those dogs chew on shoes and pee in the house in the first couple of weeks. This doesn’t indicate that a dog is poorly trained, it means the dog is a little stressed and needs to know you. It always gets better with time. Always!
Many clients contact us because the dog didn’t follow every command upon arrival. Really? OMG, say it isn’t so. If a dog arrives after a 10 hour flight, in the pet cargo compartment of a 747 and sees sunshine instead of snow is he supposed to know why? There are all of these factors that we can’t just explain to dogs such as how the weather in Cancun will be different than winter in New York.
As with most of my articles this could go on for many pages but I will conclude on a couple of notes. One of the things that we get the most calls about is that the dog isn’t following commands after a week. My question is have you been using the commands we sent and the pronunciation we give you on the video? In 99% of the cases the owner is just making up terms or using the English version. However, 99% of our dogs are not trained in English. If you speak only English and stepped off the plan in Holland you wouldn’t have a clue what people are saying to you and thus could not do as they ask.
Final thoughts – Time and proper use of the well trained K9 is what it takes to build a super relationship. You should think of your relationship with your dog as one of love and not friendship. Be willing to do whatever it takes to be good to your dog and build the bond much like the one needed to hold a marriage together. It must be one of trust and honesty built over time. ~mw