Breed Specific Dog Training and Health Care
I have been a dog trainer for over 20 years.
I was a vet tech for many years.
I managed several dog kennels.
I have worked with police dogs, service dogs, guide dogs, hearing dogs, seizure response dogs.
I started and ran my own non-profit to train assistance dogs for adults and children with disabilities (I took all my dogs from shelters or rescues).
I have worked in humane societies and sat on the board of one.
I have done in home training and pet sitting.
I have also run group classes.
And, recently I have gotten involved in the competition dog obedience and bite sport world.
And, most of these things I have done simultaneously!
And still I have people question my knowledge because I do not choose to exclusively live with or train their “breed”.
I saw this all the time in the veterinary world too.
People would call and ask if the vet specialized in Golden Retrievers, Coton Du Tulear (this was an actual call), Saint Bernard or whatever other breed you can imagine.
Whereas it is important that vets know certain things about certain breeds; for instance Collies and Shelties should never be exposed to Ivermectin, but these are things that the learn in vet school and through the continuing education that is required.
Inside all dogs look the same.
And, I think some vets take advantage of people by saying the specialize in certain breeds. They pick breeds that are most common to their area and say it is their specialty.
And, whereas there are some behavioral differences in different breeds; I don’t need to live with every breed ever created or every category (sporting, non-sporting, etc.) or mixes thereof to know how to train it.
In some ways the idea is kind of silly.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand that people with same breeds, or people who got their dog from the same shelter, or the same breeder bond in some ways.
I have many friends with Belgian Malinois and Dutch Shepherds simply because I have them.
And when I owned Rottweilers, I had that commonality with many friends.
I have also had many of these breeds living in my house as service dogs!
Dog Behavior in general is Pretty Static
There is not a lot of constant change based solely on breed.
The truth is that most of the change is based on the individual.
5 Boxers may react completely differently to the very same stimulus.
And, after all isn’t it the individual that is the most important facet of training, or health or any other component when it comes to our dogs?
I have 3 dogs and all of them are very different, even though their breed is basically the same.
I go about training each of them differently based on their temperament and behavior and what they like, but our goals are the same (great obedience).
The problem with books, videos and internet training and being that trainer, is that I can’t see all individual dogs.
I have to read into situation what I think is going on and guess and write for the masses.
It is hard to see the temperament and behavior of a dog through a written description.
It is easy, to see these things when I do individual training.
So you have to be patient and find the solution that works for you and your dog, but needing it to come from a trainer that has the same breed as you… may be unwarranted.
The Good News
The good news is that I use positive reinforcement and behavior shaping.
That means that I won’t be recommending that you strangle, hang, leash pop or correct your dog; which could make many dogs and their behaviors much worse.
The thing with positive reinforcement is rewarding the behaviors you want to see and shaping the behaviors that you want to change!
And, I have to tell you that positive reinforcement training is pretty much the same for a 2 pound Chihuahua or for a 250 pound Mastiff.
This was why I was good at working with Cheetahs, because I don’t use physical force it was easy to shape the behavior of any given animal.
This is also why Karen Pryor is successful training chicken and even fish.
So don’t judge your vet or your trainer or your groomer by the dogs that they choose! Judge them by their knowledge and experience!
I have been a professional dog trainer and pet sitter for over 20 years. I am a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, through the international Certification Counsel of Professional Dog Trainers. I have trained and worked with police, Schutzhund and personal protection dogs. I trained Assistance Dogs in a men’s prison and ran my own nonprofit organization to take adult dogs from shelters and to train them to assist children and adults with disabilities, at no charge to my clients. My nonprofit organization and I were nominated for several awards of merit and even made the front page of the Denver Post. I was a veterinary technician for many years, where I learned about all aspects of health and preventative medicine. I have trained and worked with exotic animals and cheetahs. I introduced a temperament testing program in my local shelter and sat on the board of directors. I volunteered with my dog “Mr. Snitch” and helped local children learn to read. I have attained obedience titles and several blue ribbons. I am constantly in search of ways to continue my education and excellence when it comes to animals, their behavior and their health.