My daughter was telling me a story today about her dad's new dog that reminded me of just how much I have learnt from this forum.
Her dad - my ex - had a dog when we got married. She was a great dog and very well behaved and trained. But he used the old "just show them who's boss" method. If she ever disobeyed him, he'd roll her over, pin her down and growl in her face. And that was pretty much all there was to it. She was about 7 or 8 when I met her and we said goodbye to her when she was 15.
I got my dog Luna just before she died. And because I had no experience at all in dog training, I just followed his method. In hindsight, a huge mistake. I punished my dog for not coming when called, punished her for accidents in the house, etc. I feel really guilty for some of the things I did to her now. But at the time, I thought I was a pretty good dog owner and trainer. My dog was calm and well behaved and people who met us out walking were impressed at the level of control I had over her.
And she did have a great life in lots of ways. She got walked lots, went on lots of adventures with me and was always by my side when possible.
But then I got Banjo and decided I needed to educate myself on dog training and that's how I got here. I took most of the advice I got here on board and used it as a starting point to do more reading. And what a difference it has made. Not only is Banjo well behaved and trained, but I actually enjoyed doing it. We are still working on the jumping up on other people - but I finally know what does work and I hope to now see improvement very soon - so other people don't really get to see what an awesome dog she is as much as with Luna, who just had a calm nature.
But that was my story and I wanted to say thanks to all you wonderful dog owners and trainers for being so inspiring and motivating me to become a better dog owner. I look at the dog owner I was before I got Banjo and the kind of owner I am now and I am so happy I decided to learn and change.
PS: the story my daughter told me today was that her dad and his wife will roll their young dog over and pin her down when they come home and discover she has MOVED her bed (she has shredded one before). And of course I tsk, tsk and think they're idiots. I'm sure their dog will be well behaved (though don't think she'll stop destroying things because of their response!), but I reckon mine is happier. My ex once tied my old dog Luna up outside during a thunder storm because she wouldn't listen to him. My dog was absolutely petrified of thunder! That was the last time I ever left her in his care.