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When your dog becomes your teacher

This dog....this dog here has taught me so many life lessons that I can not list them all so I will choose the most profound.

This is my dog, Brando.

Brando was euthanized in 2019 due to age-related issues...He was 16 1/2.

Though he is gone, I am forever grateful for the lessons he taught me and for the teachings that started my journey towards becoming a Canine Behavior Coach.

The first thing Brando taught me was patience.

From day one (at 7 weeks old), he had horrible separation anxiety.

Crate training was a nightmare.

For over a year we tried.

5 minutes outside, come in and reward. 8 minutes outside, come in and reward, 10 minutes outside, come in and get the point.

All while trying to study for classes.

After work every day I bathed him due to him defecating and urinating in his crate from anxiety.

He managed to break out of 4 crates of different styles and materials before I figured out it was stressing him out even more just being in there for any length of time. (I did manage to get him to a half-hour in the crate during which time I'd run to the grocery store...I got the same thing every week and had it timed perfectly)

At that point, we stopped the crate if I'd be gone any longer than 30 minutes.

This resulted in carpets being ripped up by the front door, blinds being pulled down on windows and urination and defecation in the apartment.

Needless to say, I did not get any security deposits back

I have to admit though, through all of this, taking him back or giving him up never crossed my mind...I knew I was his only chance at a home that would last forever.

After much research and a lot of trial and error, we got to a place where we were able to manage his anxiety and live a fairly normal life (normal for us at least).

Once his confidence grew, we then had to deal with the aggression that started.

I had unknowingly dropped the ball as his leader and protector so he had to take it and he was NOT equipped for it.

I went through trainers like they were going out of style. I even had one tell me that he was just a bad dog!!

It was not until someone came to me and told me that I needed to learn to help him.

There wasn't any training that would fix his behaviors.

Not only that, but training was such a bore for him....he used to fall asleep during sessions because he picked up on everything so fast .

After implementing what she taught me, we were on the road to recovery and let me tell you, the first time he was around dogs after getting the aggression under control, I cried like a baby.

We had made it.....5 years it took him to teach me this very valuable lesson.

Patience is a value needed when working with both dogs and humans.

Without it, we are overrun with frustration and anxiety.

I thank Brando every day for this amazing lesson he so patiently taught me ❤️

~~ Lori

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