The Midas Touch
28 Dec 2008
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I am here to narrate my experience which I am sure, many dog owners will identify with. Last year, around this time, I had brought home a 50-55 days old cute & cuddly pup. While I have always loved dogs (for that matter all animals), I waited to have a house big enough for a lab, before I got one. Besides, I wanted my son, born on October 2007, to grow up with a dog – I am a staunch believer of the fact that a kid who grows up with a pet turns out to be compassionate human being. Besides, the kid and the pet are great company for each other. Labrador
Our lab, (I christened a lab Boxer given his stout built), grew up very fast and within a year he was a full grown, heavy set tin weighing 30 kgs. While he was growing up, as early as the third-fourth month, I started getting a feeling that Boxer possesses very strong alpha characteristics. With passing time he grew up to be an extremely hyperactive dog, one who was becoming difficult to manage. Some of the wrong traits he picked up were – getting aggressive at other dogs while I took him out for walks (he used to pull the leash vigorously and did not pay hid to my ‘no’ command which he otherwise obeyed at home), playfully jumping at people – even visitors, nipping everybody etc. I observed, Boxer was gradually becoming a stubborn alpha who got aggressive at times. While I was conscious of Boxer’s unacceptable behavioural traits, I was struggling to correct them. I had even sought help from some of the so called self-proclaimed dog trainers, but in vain. After interacting with 3-4 ‘professional’ trainers, I realized that they were worst than rookies – they have no clue about a dog’s basic behavioural traits, leave alone effectively training a dog. After several attempts, I reigned to fate, only to wish boxer to mellow down with age. Boxer
By the time Boxer turned 11 months, he started showing signs of aggression to people at home. One day, things went a bit too far, when he bit me while I was trying to snatch away my kid’s shirt from his mouth. A dog, that a too a lab (a breed known for excellent temperament), biting it’s owner – the supposed ‘alpha’ of the home pack! I felt distressed – whom do I reach out for help? I spoke with some people who even came up with extreme suggestions like – ‘put him to sleep!’ – something which was not at all acceptable to me, under any circumstance. One of those days – while I was trying to do everything I could, to find a solution, I came across a blog on Mr. Rajesh Bhatt during one of my net based research sessions. I thought to myself, this can be my last resort. Hence, without wasting time, I spoke with Mr Bhatt and went over (along with Boxer) to meet him in his farm house which is used as a dog resort by him. While I had used the facilities a couple of times to board Boxer over weekends, I never had the opportunity to meet him earlier.
I spent a good 11/2-2 hrs with Mr. Bhatt, discussing in great detail my experiences with Boxer while Mr. Bhatt simultaneously kept observing Boxer’s behaviour. As the discussion progressed, my confidence on Mr Bhatt inched up – I started believing in him, his ways – I felt finally I have found somebody who has the ability and requisite knowledge to solve my problem. Mr. Bhatt, at the end of the discussion, concluded that Boxer’s behaviours can be corrected. However, it will take more time & effort as compared to correcting a puppy, since Boxer is already 1 year old. By then, I had taken a call in my mind – I told Mr. Bhatt – ‘ Go ahead – mould Boxer the way you want to-do whatever it takes to correct him, I will also do whatever you think I need to’.
After that, as agreed, I had left Boxer at the farm house – not to meet him over next 3-31/2 weeks. It was not at all easy for me to leave Boxer behind for such a long span – I somehow mustered my inner strength thinking that I did not have much choice but to take this challenge – for my sake, Boxer’s sake – our sake.
I met Boxer again after 3/12 weeks – I was asked by Mr. Bhatt to start handler training along with Boxer. On my very first visit I was astounded by the change in Boxer’ behaviour – obedient, attentive and motre importantly completely aligned to me! On the second day, Boxer was walking with me without a leash and on the fourth handler session, he was walking with me, without a leash amidst all sorts of distractions – including other dogs. The handler training sessions brought about very significant insights to me also – I understood the difcorrection and my methods (which I earlier adopted) of conveying my likes & dislikes to Boxer. I was surprised by Mr Bhatt’s techniques – extremely effective, yet very humane. ference between effective
As I write this blog, Boxer is still under Mr. Bhatt’s tutelage, at his farmhouse for the last leg of the training. I am looking forward to get him back home in next 10-15 days. I hope Boxer continues in his reformed avatar even after he comes back to his known ‘territory’.
It’s indeed a wonderful feeling to be with the reformed Boxer – it has really been a great revelation on canine behaviours – something which has not come across in any of my interactions with the so called ‘professional’ – ‘we know it all’ trainers.
I have taken this effort in putting together my experience with the idea that many distressed dog owners may get benefitted from this. I understand the helplessness of a dog loving owner who may be going through the same experience like I had. I will feel happy if such owners get some direction from my experience.
Before I sign-off, I promise to come back in a month’s time, with an update on Boxer’s behaviour after he comes back home.