Make mine a tall one, please.
I've been going through old files lately with moving into my new office. The other day I had a box out filled with binders; each overflowing with training clients from the past. As I sifted through the pages some names prompted memories; others left me thinking hard trying to remember. The books hold many years of dogs that I've worked with; some were a breeze, others had mild to severe issues. Being that I was flooding my head with memories from the past; this lead to other memories rising to the top. The calls.
I get a lot of calls; people in need of help. Like my clients, some calls are long gone and remain in the past but there are some that I remember as clear as it was yesterday and I often talk about these when the topic comes up. One call in particular was just that, a call. It never got past the call as I would not agree to work with the dog. The call came in on a late afternoon; I answered "hi this is Sherri." The woman on the phone said that her vet had given her my name and she was to call me. "What can I help you with?" I asked. "Oh nothing" she quickly replied. "Do you have a problem?" I inquired. The woman stated that she had no problem; no issues with her dog. So with my time ticking away I finally said "why did you call me?"
The woman told me that the vet had asked her to call me; so again I asked why? Having been asked to cap her dogs teeth with soft covers because of a minor biting issue the vet had rejected her request and told her to call me. After probing for answers, this conversation was going no where and a huge waste of my time. "Why would you want caps on your dogs teeth?" Finally bits and pieces started to emerge; but discovering the elusive facts was literally like pulling teeth.
The information that was slowly coming together was not the type that you want to hear. The dog, a very large guarding breed was not fond of people in general but mostly men. "He's a bit skittish" she exclaimed as I dug deeper for the truth behind the call. So finally I had to ask "has he bitten anyone?" She danced around the truth for what seemed an eternity until she finally said "yes." As it turned out they were in the middle of a lawsuit; oh yes he'd bitten someone, badly. And her reason for the capped teeth was for when it happened again, not if it happened again. REALLY?
From there we went into the nitty gritty stuff, how, why and scenario facts etc. Seems that the dog had been a backyard dweller; never having been socialized, living out his life with the same scenery day in and day out. There had been no training and from the sounds of it there was no interest in behavior modification work of any sort in the near future. She simply wanted the teeth padded so that it didn't hurt as much or inflict as much damage when he did it the next time. This case was a nightmare and no professional in their right mind; like the vet who sent her to me would get involved willingly. An owner with a proven biter who did not want to work on his "issues?" I was not being dragged into a lawsuit, no thank you.
I explained to the woman who she had to call; a person with a facility who dealt with aggressive dogs. After hearing this she assured me that he was not aggressive............................hmmmmmm. So I dug up the number for the training facility and said my good byes. This was one of the weirdest calls I've ever gotten; but there are many more that have left me shaking my head trying to figure out the human race. We're a weird bunch I tell ya.