Following up on last Wednesday’s post, Rugby and I are on a mission to accomplish two things. First, we want to see that dogs receive proper training and true forever homes so that the cycle of being sent to shelters and rescues can stop. There are going to be times where it’s absolutely necessary to re-home a dog, and Rugby and I completely understand that. However, far too many dogs are surrendered to shelters and rescues when they could easily have been trained and kept their homes. Those are the dogs and owners we want to help!
And secondly, we want to be that support for owners who have a “Rugby” at their home. That includes difficult behaviors like aggression, anxiety, extreme fears or shyness, etc. Not all really difficult dogs do well in overcoming their naughty behavior. Some do well up to a particular point and hit the wall with their progress for one reason or another. Some dogs go through a traumatic experience and just can’t ever quite cope with life in the same way. Sometimes, depending upon that trauma, they have strong triggers that can only be moderated in training, even though the owners wish it would disappear altogether.
As a professional dog trainer, I do my absolute best to help those dogs and owners. But when we are talking about really tough behaviors such as the ones I mentioned, so much of the progress really does depend upon the dog to figure out what behavior we do want and his willingness to let the other stuff go. It really does take a whole lot of trust from the dog’s part to believe that his owner has his best interest at heart.
While all of this transformation is going on, those owners need support and love and community and compassion. In my own personal experience, that’s something that’s tough to find. Criticism and judgment runs rampant, but there isn’t a lot of support for dogs who have really difficult emotional issues. Those owners are just as caring, and try just as hard as any owner who has a dog who is physically ill. Progress is very slow, and there aren’t a lot of big landmark events to celebrate along the way.
So for those courageous owners who are taking the road less taken and choosing to share life with a special needs/high needs dog, I tip my hat to you, and extend my heart to commit to help you have the best possible life that you can have with your special dog. My hope is that we can all band together, to encourage, support and love one another and our little nutty dogs who just haven’t figured things out just yet.
Feel free to leave comments or visit Rugby’s Facebook page to plug into that loving community. Rugby has some of the sweetest friends who are more kind and loving than I could ever expect or hope to find! As we get to know one another, we can celebrate our dogs’ small victories that few other people will understand. We need to be that community for each other if we want to have that community at all. We have to create it ourselves, and then get the word out to others so that they don’t have to struggle all by themselves. If you enjoy this blog and Rugby’s Facebook page, feel free to pass us along to others you know who may need the help and boost that we can provide.