After 10 or more years your first dog passes on and crosses the rainbow bridge. Things in life in many ways cannot measure the feeling of loss. Some people wait a few years, others jump right in and get another dog whether its from a breeder or a shelter you and you welcome your 2nd Fur-baby.
Your old dog was just wonderful. Cute,obedient, smart, capable and even funny but your hope is that the new dog meets these expectations. Communicating with your old dog was effortless. He/She knew when it was time to go out, when it was play time and to be patient if you were out late due to work or leisure activities. Your old dog almost read your thoughts and could completely tell your mood and feelings.
Now you have a new dog. He/She is in no way a replacement but is a furry new friend. A week or two later you feel you're getting to know the new pup but things seem off. The dog is not really understanding where to go to the bathroom, sometimes its inside! Sometimes the new dog barks or cowers at people or sounds or in the case of a puppy chews everything including you!
So what's going on? You might start thinking maybe this dog isn't as smart, obedient, loyal as your last dog or maybe you don't really want this dog. Maybe this dog has "issues". How about this dog might have been abused? Or this dog might not be a breed that's good for your family? A culture clash is happening in your own home between the humans and the canine. On the other hand, Maybe it's you.
Your last dog had / needed almost no training? Not true. Luckily you probably stumbled on to a winning combination of a "blind Squirrel" dog training by coincidentally conditioning your first dog into the behaviors you liked. So why is the new dog so difficult? Maybe it's you. You tried using the same old commands and queues but they just failed. I'm offering a theory: You need training help from a professional.
So many people tell me how that first dog was...perfect. I had that dog. The thing is, the first three years were a nightmare. I had to take him to obedience classes THREE TIMES! And still nothing changed. Until I met a REAL dog trainer. A typical walk with this Yellow Labrador consisted of me "waterskiing" behind him as he tried to pull me in the direction of every living thing he wanted to sniff or mark. My new dog trainer took him for a walk at the beginning of our first session. I admittedly described his lack of leash manners and for the sake of being brief of how much of a maniac he was on the leash. The trainer and my dog disappeared around the corner of my building and appeared a while later. As my trainer and dog rounded the opposite corner of my building I was instantly in a state of unbelievable, joy, excitement and shock. I just froze. Why? My maniac was walking on his leash without pulling. Not only was he not pulling, he was in a proper 'heel' position at his left hip and the 6' leash was dragging along the floor. Naturally I made a joke stating "That's not my dog" and "You must have drugged him". Not so. The trainer was an experienced K9 trainer for the Army Green Berets during the Vietnam war, Miami police in the 1970's and 1980's and other government agencies. He was also ahead of his time using positive reinforcement a decade or so sooner than the majority of the dog training industry.
Fast forward to a few short years ago. That maniac / rehabilitated Yellow Labrador was gone and my family and I decided to adopt / rescue a puppy. Repeatedly the puppies were taken so fast and we though the smart choice was adopt an adult dog, 2 - 5 years in age. We went to a shelter and met a few but one stuck out. A "Belgian Sheppard" had caught our attention. The Belgian Sheppard turned out to be a Belgian Malinois. She climbed on our laps, gave some licks and we adopted he on the spot. A week or two later we joined the club of being a Belgian Malinois owner aka - Maligators, Maliciraptors, Fur missiles and land shark to name a few breed nicknames, you get the idea. After returning from a family outing we came home to discover that our new dog was a furry tornado that went off in our living room and kitchen. We had things ripped from the walls and most of the house looked like a disaster area. Upon leaving her on another outing we put her in a crate. She cried but nothing too serious. So upon arriving home she had split the side of the crate open and painted every inch with every kind of elimination imaginable. It wasn't the dogs problem it was ours. Our old tried and true methods we used on my "perfect" Lab did not work. So we hired a professional dog trainer. She gave us valuable information about what the dog was experiencing and how we added to her anxiety and stress.
This whole experience was the catalyst for me becoming a professional dog trainer/behaviorist. I'm happy to report my furry tornado, Belgian Malinois is by far the best dog I've ever seen. She's emotionally sound, well mannered, gentle, smart and trustworthy. We couldn't be happier. However NONE of this would be possible without a trainer. My last 2 dogs became amazing dogs because of the guidance of 2 trainers. It wasn't luck. It wasn't the dog and certainly wasn't me. My best training advice is get a trainer, even if it is not me. Don't cheap out get a good one and it will change your family's life. It just might save your dog's life from a kill shelter. So I'm begging you...get a dog trainer today.
It's you. You and your dog need help today.