Now that you’ve been able to take a look at some of the things I’m passionate about in the dog world, proper training methods and understanding the truth of dog shows and purebreds, I feel it’s a good time to look at why I’m so passionate about these and nearly anything to do with Dogs.
Dogs have always been important to me. I have always been a “dog person” though I as an individual have not been in a position where I have owned my own dog. More on this later.
When I was younger, my family had an English Shepherd mix, and then a rescue Golden Retriever when I was in High School. I recognized the differences between each and slowly tried to learn as much as I could about what made them so different.
In addition to being different dogs, the number one reason why they had different personalities and temperaments, these two dogs had very different lives. We had the Shepherd all of her life, adopting her from a shelter when she was just a couple months old. The Retriever was already almost two years old when we got him. The Shepherd was trained and taught everything she needed early on, she experienced new things as much as possible as soon as possible. The Retriever however didn’t appear to have much training and made us believe that he had never been inside of a house before because of his fear of stairs and changes in floor type. The other thing which made the two very different is that the Shepherd never had any serious health problems until very late in life when she passed because of a tumor in her abdomen, actually passing the night before she was scheduled for surgery to remove that exact tumor. The Retriever had mental problems in addition to a thyroid issue and the combination made him hard to read. He was a fiercely protective dog and his mental disconnect caused him to be an unpredictable dog who would either be leash reactive, or the kindest dog. His triggers were seemingly random and it is because of this that after three or four years my parents decided that he was too much for us.
Looking back on everything with what I know now, It’s hard to accept that this all happened with our Retriever as I don’t believe any dog is beyond help.
I feel the experiences with these two dogs, particularly what happened with our Retriever, caused my now constant interest in dogs, training, and animal behavior or psychology.
For the past four or five years, from when I started college to now, I have had a lot of interests but one of the constants was dogs. I have always loved reading about dogs and learning new things about dog behavior. I took psychology classes to learn about behavior in general. I listened to friends in biology classes and took in their comments on what they were learning. I read philosophy and sociology studies to see how people in history and in different cultures would look at interactions with animals.
I also read breed standards and about the arguments for and against breeding and purebred dogs. I watched as many dog shows as I could and would watch the same best in group showings over and over until I recognized why one dog might fit the standard of their breed more than the others.
In the past year in particular I have been very interested in dog behavior and newer “Dog-Friendly” forms of training, such as the “Positively” method brought on by Victoria Stilwell. I’m beginning to entertain the possibility of using this information to become a dog trainer.
One of my favorite people, Kevin Smith, said once that he became a filmmaker not by saying “I want to be a filmmaker” but by saying “I am a filmmaker” and then doing what he needed to make that statement true. So I’m going to stop saying “I want to be a dog trainer” and instead do what I can to make saying “I am a dog trainer” truth. It might take a while, but this blog is going to be my foundation.