I have recently been asked why I became a dog trainer. Of course I love dogs, have a passion for animal behavior, and I want to help people have the best dog possible. But my #1 reason for wanting to become a dog trainer has to do with numbers. 6.5 million is the number of companion animals surrendered every year. 3.3 million is the number of dogs that are surrendered each year. 670,000 is the number of dogs that are euthanized every year. And 96% of dogs that are surrendered to shelters have not received any obedience training. These alarming numbers show how important training is for a dog. When we bring them into our home, it is our responsibility to teach them how to become members of the family and society. Below is a story I found online by an anonymous writer that I found touching.
THIS IS ONE REASON OUR SHELTER IS SO FULL!
My family brought me home, all cradled in their arms. They cuddled me and smiled at me and said I was full of charm. They played with me and laughed with me and showered me with toys. I sure did love my family, especially the little girls and boys.”
“The children loved to feed me; they gave me special treats. They even let me sleep with them – all snuggled in the sheets. I used to go for walks, often several times a day. They even fought to hold the leash, I’m very proud to say.”
“These are the things I’ll not forget – a cherished memory. Now that I’m in the shelter – without my family. They used to laugh and praise me when I played with that old shoe. But I didn’t know the difference between the old one and the new.”
“The kids and I would grab a rag, for hours we would tug. So I thought I did the right thing when I chewed the bedroom rug. They said that I was out of control, and would have to live outside. This I didn’t understand, although I tried and tried.”
“The walks stopped, one by one, they said they hadn’t time. I wish that I could change things; I wish I knew my crime. My life became so lonely in the backyard, on a chain. I barked and barked all day long to keep from going insane.”
“So they brought me to the shelter but were embarrassed to say why. They said I caused an allergy, and then they each kissed me goodbye. If I’d only had some training when I was a little pup, I wouldn’t have been so hard to handle when I was all grown up.”
“‘You only have one day left, I heard the worker say. Does that mean I have a second chance? Do I go home today?”