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Training  "Tails"

Do Puppies really want to Please People?

Desi is a 9 month old puppy with LOTS of energy.  Extremely smart and eager to please he learned a great deal over a 2 month period.  He mastered "sit and stay".. then "down"... then "roll over" ... then "whisper"... now we are working at having him wait for each command.  Check out the video below:

The Story of Yahko

Yahko is a beautiful Rottweiler and is now 9 months old.  He came into Carroll's life when Carroll needed him most. Carroll or "Al" is a gentleman who has faced a lot of challenges in his life and was looking for a companion after his 14 year old Rot-Shepherd mix passed last year.  So Al went to the local pet store to start the hunt for someone to share his home.  He stumbled upon an adorable 3 month old puppy and fell in love.  The pet store assured him that he was a healthy full breed and presented him with a cost of $1,000 to take the adorable pup home.  So Al did just that.  Initially Al was overtaken with uninformed optimism.  Yahko was a puppy... with puppy energy and Rotweiller stubbornness.  That is when we met.  As it is my primary focus to support seniors and their dogs, we embarked (sorry for the pun) on a focused training effort.  Within 2 weeks, Yahko was no longer tripping Al when they went for walks and he walked perfectly on a lead.  He learned to go outside to do his business and in about 3 weeks had mastered the basic cues of "Sit; Stay; Down; Come and Whisper".  He loved to play and cuddle and learn.  Then, at about 5 months, Yahko started to limp and Al took him to the vet for an evaluation.  After two second opinions from separate vets, Yahko was diagnosed with dysplasia in all joints except his shoulders.  His pain increased and he and his owner were subjected to a lot of pain and vet bills.  Earlier this month, Yahko went for surgery on his elbows.   The cost was in excess of $4,000.

This is a sad story of what can often happen when purchasing puppies from pet stores or "puppy mills".  Very few pet stores will provide you with a legit certificate of health and most purchase their dogs from brokers who get their puppies from shelters or less than reputable breeders.  It is all about quantity not quality. It is a terrible cycle that only consumers education can cure.  Frankly, one can purchase a pure breed pup for much less money from a reputable breeder and have the peace of mind that your new companion is healthy and has no "baggage" of being raised in unsanitary and cramped environments.  What can you do?  Be informed.  Ask questions regarding the puppy's background and what health examinations have been done.  Just because a puppy has had it's shots does not mean they have been examined completely by a vet.  Ask to see "the back room" where the puppies are kept.  Is it clean? Is the pup clean?  But most of all, avoid the trap all together by going to a reputable breeder or rescue organization when looking for a life companion.  A good rescue organization will not allow adoption of sick or aggressive dogs.  They value the needs and happiness of the owner as much as that of the puppy.  You can also ask your trainer to help you procure the right dog. We are trained to evaluate aggressiveness and ask the questions that need to be asked.

Today we pick up Yahko following his significant surgery.  Because of love, Al made the decision to pay for the surgery in order to save Yahko's quality of life.  Honestly the alternative would have been to put him down because of the significant pain he was in. He has some significant hurdles to overcome but he will make it because of love. The pet store and the brokers should be ashamed of themselves for putting both Yahko and Al through this pain.  Please help by passing the word and helping others avoid similar situations.

1/16/2014 update:  Yahko came home yesterday and although a bit dopey, he is doing well. He is on lots of meds but is walking and just as loving as before the surgery.  The doctor indicated that the surgery went well and that following some rehab Yahko should be romping around without pain.  The doctor did confirm that his problems were genetic.  Al is thrilled to have his best friend back at home.

1/30/2014 Update:  Yahko had his stitches out this week and almost immediately the happiness shone in his eyes!  With much less discomfort he is a puppy again... and spoiled.  Training refresher is in process but it is wonderful to see both Yahko and Carroll loving life again.  Thanks to the folks at the Buffalo Grove Speciality Clinic and Antioch Lakes Vet  for their skills and council in helping both of them return to a great quality of life!