Who I am to me and who I am to you are two different things.
To me, I am a 40 something year old with 20 plus years of animal
behavior under my belt!
To you, I am a way of learning how to understand your dog so you can
change its behaviors.
When I was in my early 20's I was working as a veterinary technician
and was in need of a part-time job.
While perusing local jobs available I came across a dog daycare hiring.
Hmm, dog daycare. What the hell is that?
That was the best thing to ever happen to me!!!
I was thrown into a group of 20-30 large dogs with minimal instruction
as to what to do!!
Sink or swim?
I am a swimmer! Love the water...always have!
I had no choice, I had to start figuring these guys out if I had any chance of surviving this!
My first instinct was to stay with the dogs...make sure I was close by in case anything happened.
Day after day I would immerse myself in these groups of dogs and started to begin noticing how they interacted with each other.
After some time a lightbulb went off in my head. What would they do if I started interacting with them the way they do with each other.
I started using body blocking with them if I thought they were getting a bit too rambunctious.......what the hell?.... It worked!!!!!!
Each day I would try something different that I had seen them do on different occasions and I was blown away!
I had figured out how to have a conversation with these guys without saying a word!!!!!!!
After a few years, I began training dogs on the side. I wanted to expand my knowledge (not knowing I already learned what I needed from the dogs).
After reading books and doing the research I started working the "by the books cookie cutter training". It was ok, but I kept getting these dogs that would learn the skills but they were still having problems behaving.
I was also having the same problem as I was training the puppy I had gotten.
I was at a loss.
Then I started experimenting with my dog and combining what I had learned from the dogs at the daycare along with his training.
It was like this whole world opened up between us!
He always did excellent learning the skills, but he was still having some behavior issues (lunging at dogs on walks, major anxiety, not listening to commands when I gave them etc.)
Once I understood that the skills alone were not enough, I started communicating with him in HIS language.
Now we understood each other!
He would let me know how he was feeling and I would be able to help him with whatever was making him uncomfortable.
I was able to guide him and protect him so that he wasn't being taken over by anxiety and the need to handle everything on his own.
From then on, I knew exactly what I needed to do.
These dogs I had been training needed their owners to understand them.
The neat tricks and things like learning to heel, sit, stay, turn around and wait were only part of the equation.
They can learn new skills no question, but what they really need is our understanding of how they function as a dog and our ability to learn this.
They have learned so much about us and how we work...it is time for us to learn how they work.
Thank you Brando for 16 1/2yrs of teaching me everything you know and challenging me to better myself as a canine behavior coach and a person. R.I.P. sweet boy 7/31/2018