Every dog trainer out there , not just us Miami Dog Trainers, has experienced the following scenario: A client calls you because they have a problem with their dog. Except, when you arrive and meet the family you realize that there really isn’t a problem WITH the dog, but the problem IS the dog.
Sometimes it’s just bad luck of the draw, and other times owners willingly (and/or naively!?) get a dog that just isn’t the right dog for their lifestyle. The most frustrating type of mismatch for me personally is an elderly couple who gets a large breed high energy puppy. Arriving at the doorstep and seeing their 70lb puppy bouncing off the walls, bulldozing over the senior dog in the household and both humans bruised and battered from play gone wrong. I mean seriously, what were they thinking!!!
I’ll tell you what they were thinking: “I’ve had dogs all my life. This is no different. I know what I’m doing and I can handle it.”
But then reality sets in and senior citizens realize that they were 15 years younger the last time they had a puppy. In Al and Norma’s case that 15 years ago would have put them at 78yrs old. Yes, you heard me correctly. My clients in the below video were born in 1919….before electricity was invented!
Yet, this blog post is not a criticism of their wanting to adopt a puppy who was in a bad place. This is a story about dedication, determination and creativity. I wanted to share this beautiful video of them playing with their dog because when I arrived at their home 6 months ago I just kept shaking my head wondering how in the world this was ever going to work when physically neither party was able to walk or exercise the dog safely. But friends & dog training colleagues… Let me tell you…I don’t care what age your clients and/or friends are who might decide to get a puppy, because it’s our responsibility as dog training professionals to find a solution so they can have a happy and productive life together.
In the video below their dog Ginger is playing with a new product on the market called Woof Stick. I had previously considered building a “flirt pole” for their dog, but quickly realized that even PVC pipe would be too heavy for my clients to lift and play with. During my recently attended Association of Professional Dog Trainers conference in Cincinatti I was turned onto this product which boasts a revolutionary light weight design — and man, they weren’t kidding! Now my clients are able to play with their dog for the first time in a way that is fulfilling and fun for her breed.
The prescription is a daily regime of playing with the woof stick to tire out their young dog before they allow her to interact with their senior dog (who just doesn’t want to be bugged really). Before they were able to give Ginger proper daily exercise we risked aggression between the dogs simply because their senior dog would get really irritated and snappy at the younger dog who just wanted to play. Now, the tired pup isn’t so focused on the other dog and they can enjoy lounging in the house together.
The moral of the story? No matter what “miss-match” of dogs and people from time to time there is a solution for every scenario. We are just so happy for this family we had to share!
Before I filmed Al playing with Ginger she had already been playing for about 10 minutes chasing, running, springing into the air — having an absolutely BLAST!
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