Originally posted 2-16-18
As a dog trainer, people assume I get to play with puppies all day. Although that would be a fantastic job, that is not the case. People, myself included, forget that this can be a dangerous job. I’ve dealt with aggression cases, shelter dogs, fearful cases, puppies, and your everyday dog but never have I been bitten like this. It was a quick and calculated move which will leave me with a constant reminder of how I must always be cautious.
Recently, I went to a seminar with one of the country’s leading dog aggression experts. She was insightful but realistic. No rose-colored glasses there. Honestly, I was uncomfortable with what she had to say but it was eye opening. “Every dog is aggressive until proven otherwise…Don’t love on other people’s dogs like you love on your own.” That seminar made me realize a few things like the true dangers of this job, the heartbreak of knowing I can’t save every dog, handler mistakes aren’t always the reason for dog bites and to understand that although we may say otherwise, dogs are just that…dogs. Living, breathing, cognitive, domesticated animals. (I love my brats like my children, so even I forget that.) They can be unpredictable. They won’t always warn you before they bite, as this one didn’t. It is my job to learn and grow to prevent this from happening to someone else.
That being say, remember that dog can bite just as quickly out of fear, as they can out of aggression, as they can out of pain. A few stiches, a bruised ego, and a learning opportunity came out of this. The reality is, dogs bite. Trust me, I don’t entirely blame the dog. If anything, it makes me a more aware trainer and better at analyzing behavior. Lesson learned but my unwavering optimistism and passion still remains.