I would like to tell you the story of Mischa, my 15 month old red Doberman. Mischa is a spoilt brat. Mischa gets to sleep on the couch, and gets LOTS of love and attention.
I have had Doberman’s my whole life, so when the opportunity arose for me to get another one, Mischa, I was more than excited. She came from beautiful parents and a very loving home. I picked her up at 6 weeks, and after extensive watching of the Dog Whisperer, thought that I would not follow the path of all those other eccentric dog owners.
Guess what, I did. Mischa went to puppy school at the local vet and an RSPCA course shortly after, in the attempt that I would be teaching her some discipline. I wanted her to be able to play with my nieces safely, and to be able to take her to family gatherings without her being a pest. In between all that, I showed her no boundaries or limitations, and pretty much let her do what she liked, because she was my Mischa, and I loved and continue to love her to pieces.
She started exhibiting quite anxious behaviours around other people. I thought, “oh, she’ll grow out of it”, but it got progressively worse. The breaking point was when the house we were renting in was put up for sale, and people came over to do pest and building inspections. As they ventured outside, Mischa was so fearful and nervous, that she relieved herself while running around the yard, the whites of her eyes showing and her huge tail between her legs. I was distraught. I knew that she was experiencing incredible fear and exhibiting huge anxiety, and I didn’t know what to do. I knew something was wrong, and I was adamant to fix it.
One of my work colleagues, who is a dog handler in law enforcement encouraged me to look in to some further training for Mischa. I found the K9 Centre, and called them to make an appointment with someone. Shortly after, Al, my wonderful trainer, called me to discuss what was happening with Mischa. He was my last resort. If he couldn’t fix her, then she was doomed to be a fearful and anxious dog for the rest of her life, and I knew that would be a huge suffering for her.
Al came a few days later, and we spent considerable time discussing Mischa’s behaviours, and my responses, and why things were the way they were. Turns out, all those eccentric mad dog owners from the Dog Whisperer had all decided to make themselves comfortable in my relationship with my dog, and I was doing the EXACT thing I didn’t want to do. I also learnt that day, that the onus of handling my dog was on me, not on Al. But Al showed me the right things to do, and we practised, a lot.
Mischa was never able to walk on a lead. She has a huge chest, she’s a big girl for a Doberman (36.5kgs and nooo fat!) and she pulls like a work horse. She walked on a halti, but I felt that was like handcuffs on a person and didn’t want to keep resorting to that. Al taught me how to walk her on loose lead, and how to show her that I was in charge. Without Al’s guidance, I would never have learned the simple tricks to handle my dog effectively. Mischa is in a transition stage at the moment. She is asserting her dominance over our little Jack Russell, her bark has changed, and she prances when she walks. Just the other day, my husband was doing a service on the car, and Mischa sat quietly on loose lead (not tied up to anything) by the car, not even responding to all the noises that were happening around her (children playing in the street, neighbour and his motorbike, engine revving as hubby was finishing the service).
I am so impressed. Not only with Mischa, but with my ability to handle my dog, and know how to handle my dog with ease and effectiveness. Al is an amazing handler, and I was sad to see our time end. I hope that one day Mischa and I get to do some further training with Al, because as a Doberman, she is more than intelligent enough to handle anything that comes her way. I want to thank The K9 Centre, and particularly Al, for teaching me this skill, and in helping me, help my dog live a stress free and happy life.
Enclosed is a picture of my “tough” girl 🙂