Adopt, rescue, support, new leash on life, help, no-kill, shelter, humane society, breed rescue, pound -- so many words that go along with being the change for animals. So many words, so many meanings, so many people trying to do what they can to save, and make better, animals' lives. Without all these people and all these words, I am sad to think what would happen to so many animals in so many bad situations.
All but one of our dogs have been rescues; we rescued one of our house rabbits (many years ago); we currently have two guinea pigs that we rescued (Easter present gone bad!); and we will rescue again. We rescue because our pets have found us. It has been very obvious each and every time that this animal was meant to be in our lives. We recently lost our German Shepherd and as much as I miss him and as much as I want another dog, I know that our next dog will find us in one way, shape, or form.
We take a little bit different path on our journey to be the change for animals. We are dog trainers. Our business, and our lives, is helping people improve their relationships with their dogs. Our goal always is to help people find ways to communicate with their dogs, to find ways to live in sync with each other, and to enjoy the journey they are on with their dogs. We hope that every client we work with, every dog that those clients have, and other dogs they come into contact with will somehow have their lives made better because of what we have taught and exemplified.
There are many dogs in rescue situations that simply need a different situation. Maybe a different handler, maybe different food, maybe different boundaries, maybe a different training method -- something needs to change in their lives that will change their lives forever. We view our role as trainers to be the agents for that change. So many dogs end up in rescue during their "teenage" time (approximately 6 months to 24 months) -- cute little puppy with endearing habits has turned into giant gawky dog with annoying, maybe dangerous, habits. And if they don't end up in rescue, they may end up chained to a dog house or confined to a kennel without human contact or let loose hoping that a nice family takes them in, loves them, and takes care of them. Train, don't complain! Set boundaries you and your dog can both live with. Find a good positive reinforcement trainer you like and find a way to take a class. If you rescue, or work with rescues, recommend training to the people who call you both to surrender dogs and to adopt dogs. Most issues are related to behavior and can be worked through!
As a dog trainer, being the change for animals means spreading the word about the benefits of formally training your dog. If every dog owner took even an hour and learned something new to work on with their dog, a lot more dogs would stay in homes and not be in rescue situations. If they would spend more time communicating with their dogs, learning with their dogs, enjoying the journey with their dogs, the results would be astronomical!!!
Being the change for animals starts in each of our homes with our own animals. Today, spend time with your dog, teach her something new, share a new experience -- expand both of your horizons. And then tell someone about it -- maybe they will do the same and tell someone -- and so on, and so on. What a difference it will make to our dogs!
Be the Change for Animals Training Tip -- most dog breeds and mixed breeds were bred to work at some job. Find a job for your dog! Getting the newspaper, protecting your yard, digging in the sand pit, walking with you, listening to your children read -- whatever job you want to give your dog. Train what needs to be trained -- a nice down/stay for dogs that will be read to, a reliable coming when called for the newspaper fetcher, polite greetings for the dog who walks in your neighborhood with you. Then ask your dog to her job and pay her! When she does her job, reward her -- do you work for free? Probably not. Don't expect your dog to work for free! The best thing about dogs is that their paychecks are easy to pay out -- food, attention, games, love. You and your dog will both be happier and your lives together will be even better!!!