Sometimes I wonder why certain people bring a puppy home. They clearly have unrealistic expectations and little patience. Not a good combination for someone living with a puppy.
I met this particular puppy last summer. She was a very friendly, happy puppy who got along well with all the other puppies and the people. She was a typical puppy in that she did some things well but also could drive her human family crazy with some of her typical puppy antics. Nothing unusual. I constantly had to remind the owner that this was a typical puppy and patience was needed to help her work through her nipping, jumping, and excitement.
After Puppy Class ended, the owner decided his puppy was not quiet, calm and well-behaved enough and he wanted more immediate results. Sound familiar – someone looking for a “quick fix” or a “magic wand” to have a calm adult dog in a puppy's body? Despite my recommendations otherwise, the owner chose to begin work with a trainer who uses very harsh training methods, including the use of prong collars and choke chains. The advice given to this owner, for starters, was to put this puppy (mind you, this is still a young puppy!) on a prong collar for the next year.
Unfortunately, the owner believed the claims that this dog could be “fixed” with harsh treatment. My prediction at the time was that this very dog-friendly puppy would end up becoming dog-aggressive within the year.
Fast forward to this summer, one year later. I recently found out that this dog is in fact now dog aggressive. Sometimes I really wish I would be proven wrong.
In addition to the dog aggression, this dog also has a serious obsessive-compulsive behavior. This poor one year old dog is now a complete mess, and clearly not a happy dog.
Would the dog aggression and compulsive behavior have occurred without the harsh treatment this puppy has received the past year? Of course, I can't prove it one way or the other. But I'm pretty sure I know the answer.
I love helping people to develop well-adjusted, well-behaved happy family dogs. But the cases like this weigh very heavily on me.
You can read more about obsessive compulsive behaviors in dogs here: