Democracy for a terrier

Author Baskina Sofya

Translator Maxim Moroz
Some dogs stand upon dignity, and often they are really deserve it. It’s not about meanness, spitefulness, dominance, these are dogs with a great sense of self-worth, and they become sincere and close friends, provided the master is ready to recognize their personality.

I realized that this puppy belongs to such a pretty rare type of dogs when I started to beginning to handle him to unpleasant procedures using my favorite technique. In 99% of cases no problem occurs, but here the puppy was has endured a couple of touches, took the treat and for the third time — just blown up. A three-month puppy was really snarling and tried to bite my hand for dear life. I was holding him for the scruff of his neck (to keep him from biting me) with one hand, and with other hand — under the chest to avoid his spine damage. It lasted quite a long time and, as he could not reach my hand and break away from me, the puppy began to yell hysterically. This spectacle was not for the squeamish… Finally, the puppy gave up and stopped suddenly — I have relaxed my hands immediately. I have waited for a while and started to train him again — he exploded again. One awkward movement — and milk teeth has left a few small punctures in my hand. And again I was holding a puppy and waiting for him to accept the fact that his is held. The owners were watching their pet in shock. Finally the puppy stopped again, and I relaxed my hands. I have waited for a while again and started training — the puppy was very alarmed, endured my touches, but he took a treat! And that mean, he was not scared. After three calmer touches I have praised a puppy, then held him on my arms, in hand, still stroking and when he relaxed — I have lowered him on the floor and gave him a “sit” command, he was already familiar with. He immediately walked over and sat down — it means that he agreed to continue the training, but I, after praising the puppy, have appealed to owners.

“You got a special puppy — he does not allow any familiarities. We can train him to unpleasant procedures and, with large efforts from you, he will not bite you. But dog will refuse to tolerate any new person — a veterinarian or groomer. Your dog requires respectful treatment, and you always have to keep it in mind, but, you know, sometimes such dogs turns out very smart, and after some time you will find out that your dog really deserves such treatment. However, from the very beginning we will start to accustom the puppy to the muzzle and he should wear it while visiting vet and groomer”.

A week later I continued to train the puppy to tolerate unpleasant procedures and he didn’t even attempted to resist: calmly, like on this video, the puppy have tolerated touches, opening his mouth, filing his claws and was eating a treat gladly. In my arms. In the owner hands, everything went through the old scenario. I proposed to start making everything with puppy wearing a muzzle, but the owner replied firmly: «No!» I will train him and I will gain my goal!” After these words I started to respect both the owner and the puppy   Owners really coped with it, they repeated the procedure every day, and the puppy behaved perfectly. They were so successful in their efforts that a month later at, at a visit of groomer, nobody even thought to wear a muzzle on a grown-up dog. The puppy’s patience was not long… The groomer punished the puppy strongly, that was totally pointless, because the trimming shall be continued with a muzzle on. It’s like a proverb, you know it? “It’s okay to make mistakes, but it’s not okay to repeat these three times”. A few months later, the owners had to consult with vet. Considering that dog was still tolerable to injections and receiving medications from owners, the muzzle was not on the dog again. With a predictable result.

Recently the owner has stroked the dog with a foot. The dog barked and moved away from the owner. The owner asked me how to punish a dog in such a case. I believe that there is no reason for punishment in such occasion — the dog has just explained that touches with feet is unpleasant for her. She didn’t bite. And as though she bite or stay near owner’s feet after barking — it could be a sign of some serious problem. The dog just expressed her “pish!” on it and went apart by herself, demonstrating respect to the owner. The owner was surprised by my answer: «Isn’t she must tolerate all that I’m doing?» I am, in turn, was surprised with such a question. Why owners need the dog to tolerate them? While training for procedures, we are training the dog to trust and to endure something unpleasant based on such trust. But we’re not trying to break the dog down, to make her a nullity, having no right on any own wishes or opinions.

I know: many of dog owners believes that such dog needs a punishment (usually — a shake with a scruff of the neck). But such a majority opinion is the main reason why each dogs-related forum is full of exclamations: “I am beating her, and she keeps on biting”. Many dogs eventually will stop — just break down. Such dog like this, will not break. The more aggression will be addressed to her, the more of it she will return to people. This dog is a real strong personality, and her trust to owners — is the best guarantee for her obedience and safety. For them. During the visit of vet or groomer the dog should be muzzled.