I believe I wrote about how the “friend” we got our new puppy from had gone behind my back when she realized I was seeking a trainer to help with the issues we were having, and contacted the trainer. The trainer was a mutual friend, someone I hadn’t realized was a trainer, but knew had used this particular training organization for her own dogs.
Our “friend” had said some unflattering things, suggesting that the puppy’s issues were the result of all my emotional issues, stress, etc. and that I was the only one of the adopting families having any trouble with their puppy.
Yes, I understand that fundamentally what I’m feeling can travel down the leash (so-to-speak) and affect the dog, but my husband was having trouble as well and regardless it wasn’t her place to contact the trainer, so worried as to how our issues would reflect on her dogs.
Unbeknownst to her one of the other adopting families had started a secret group on Facebook for all the puppy families, because with the exception of one family, we were all having trouble. There were issues with crate training, lots of issues with house training, destroying things, jumping up on people, biting and rough play. One of the other female puppies was exhibiting exactly the behaviors we were dealing with, only she was biting at the faces of the family’s little children. All was not bliss in this litter’s world, as the breeder would have people think.
I have a lot of trust issues, as it is, from my past, though I tend to trust first rather than making one earn trust. Not sure why I’m like that, I guess maybe because I want so badly to have someone I can trust, to share with, to be open and just be me with.
I’ve been instructed by one of the other adopting families and the trainers we’re working with to not share anything about the puppy’s progress, any issues we may be having, problems we’ve encountered, etc., so that the breeder can’t obtain more “ammunition” to use against me, in blaming any problems on me. It was also suggested that we stop visiting, stop allowing interaction with her dogs and our puppy, though we’d limited that considerably from what the breeder had wanted. I’ve found when I’m not sharing puppy on FB, she’s privately messaging me, asking questions, wanting to know how she’s doing, how the is training going, are we still going to class, etc.
The mutual friend who is a trainer told me that the breeder doesn’t agree with the methods this organization uses, doesn’t agree that dogs should walk in heel, or that much of anything should be asked of them. She believes, since she has a number of dogs, the “pack” should sort things out. She shouldn’t be intervening, allowing them to “fight it out” when there are problems. She doesn’t agree with the organization’s philosophy regarding socialization, that dogs don’t need to meet and greet every new dog or human they encounter, that not every person who wants to pet them should be allowed to do so, etc.
When the breeder messages me, I often feel as if she’s “fishing” for information, almost hoping that the training isn’t working. She asked recently if we were still attending classes. We paid $125 for 6 lessons, we’ve only had 2, of course we’re still attending. Training can’t work if you don’t commit to it and follow through.
I’ve had huskies my whole life, got our first one when I was 8. I was responsible for feeding, grooming, playing with her and walking her. I’ve had a total of 4 now. One lived to be 15, the last one was 10 when I lost him to cancer. I’ve trained on my own in the past and was quite successful at it. My last dog, Kodiak, learned service dog skills to assist me around the house. This puppy, who turns 5 months old today, was like nothing I’ve ever encountered before. She explodes in fits of jumping and biting without provocation. I’ve been torn up, my arms look like I’ve been in a knife fight. I’m bruised from my arms to my ankles. Nothing I’d ever known, as far as training went, worked with her. In fact, any correction only made her more aggressive. One of the other adopting families shared similar experiences with me.
The trainers handled her briefly and immediately said she’s a dominant female. She’s trying to dominate you. You are going to have to take a heavier hand with her, assert yourself more. They taught me some skills, and got us into class. I’m happy to say that we’ve seen remarkable progress. We’re walking without pulling, sitting relaxed at each corner until given the heel command and the use of a spray bottle with tepid water in it, to squirt her when she’s jumping up and biting has made a huge difference. She’s rapidly learning the “Off, No, Off” command.
Not unlike the breeder’s objection to the trainer’s methods, she objected to my views on what huskies can and cannot be taught. So many negative behaviors are often written off as “typical of the breed” or “instinctual and therefore can’t be trained out.” I disagree, because so many of the breed’s so-called typical behaviors… being escape artists, being destructive, rough and aggressive play, digging holes, being unable to walk on a loose lead, etc., were not present in any of the huskies I’ve ever had the pleasure to share my life with. I did a lot of supervision and correction, positive reinforcement.
It appeared to me that she chooses to let her dogs have little to no structure or expectations. I was stunned by her response, when I offered to photograph her, her husband and all their dogs as a portrait, that when I asked her if they could kneel and get all the dogs in sit around them. She laughed and said, “Good luck with that.” I had assumed that having so many dogs, surely they had to be trained, to some degree, were able to be controlled, given direction. It was chaos, not even controlled chaos. She had trouble with some of her dogs even sitting with her, she had to hold them, or lay down on the ground beside them unable to even hold them.
Knowing all of this, it shouldn’t be as much of a struggle, as it is, to cope with knowing what she said to the trainer, knowing she thought she had the right to intervene. I shouldn’t be struggling with such raw feelings of distrust, violation, anger, but I am.
I thought of her as a close friend, as a sister. Her dogs helped me get through the loss of Kodiak. I am forever grateful for that. I helped plan and photographed the puppy shower and “wedding” of the puppies’ parents that her step kids wanted to have. I helped her with decorations and photographed, producing a video of her surprise wedding to her husband on the same day. Her friendship meant a lot to me. That she offered me a puppy at a reasonable price, meant a great deal to me. Though I don’t think any of that gives her the right to intervene with the trainer, say the things she said about me, or assume she has any further right to know anything about or visit my puppy. She has no say in anything to do with it, at this point.
I do everything conceivable for my pets, they get excellent health care, nutrition, exercise, enrichment, etc., they are part of our family. I should not be struggling with this as much as I am.