Saturday, October 29, 2011

Day 302 - Biter

Today I faced a dog who recently bit another trainer. As we are in the business of not getting bitten, this was quite a scary thing for me. We as trainers make it our number one priority to read a dog's body language and avoid being bitten by respecting what the dog is telling us. So, when a trainer who is 5 times more experienced then I am (literally) gets bitten by an unpredictable dog, it doesn't leave me and my lack of experience feeling very positive for the day's unfolding.

I did my best to put on a brave face for my class and the Biter, and hoped no one would see my fear. I worked dilligently to read the Biter's body language, hoping my fate would not be the same as the previous trainer's. I even, begrudgingly, took the Biter to use as a demo-dog and worked through what I believe was some of his anxiety. By the end of the class, despite some challenging dog reactive behavior, I remained unscathed. I rewarded the Biter for all of it's hard work, and sent him and his family on their way for another week of in-home practice. As they walked away, I watched the Biter chomp down twice on a stranger's hand and wondered if my bite prevention was skill or luck.

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