My time at the Behavior Symposium by Marie Turner-Bailie
My morning started off picking up Allison Daack, a speaker and our Canine Behavior Consultant for Daack Pack Dog Training Inc. When we drove through UC Davis campus it was huge. I was impressed with how much space and the quality of the buildings. I was a volunteer for the event to check in all guests. It was wonderful becoming familiar with Veterinarians that play a part in how our clients' dogs are treated and putting faces to names, like Dr. Bain, Dr. Davis, Dr. Stelow and Dr. Lawler. The support of vets and trainers together was quite a dream, at one point.
I used to work in a store environment where you would try to team up with grooming staff and as a trainer it would be a challenge to be sure that the staff was supportive of the training methods. An exchange of clients and building that trusted relationship was often a challenge. I was very fortunate to be able to win over and work with people who believed in what we could do together. However, vets and trainers working together? Could it be true? Yes, it's true and to hear veterinarians speak so highly of trainers and the support from both sides was… well, amazing. When you have experts in different areas willing to come together, support and build each other up to better a life, wouldn’t that be great to have for all dogs in all aspects of their life? Or what about our lives? Or our children’s lives?
Sorry back to the dogs!
During each section of the speaking there was a trainer or three and a veterinarian or veterinary behaviorist. We heard case studies of how medication and training helped to better the life of a family pet. Tears were brought to my eyes to hear how an owner worked so hard, balancing vets, specialists and training to keep their furry family member safe and increase the quality of life. I have met this dog, they’re one of Allison’s clients, and it was devastating to hear not only the trainer but the veterinarian behaviorist agree that he may have been a behavioral euthanization without all of the work and effort of his entire team. One thing for sure was the time it took to test different medications and slowing down training to baby steps so this dog could have his best success. Patience and the willingness to stick with it is what was needed to keep this dog alive and give him his best life possible.
All of the stories started out with a challenge, some seemed so big and others in some cases where situations where another person might have given up. In another case it was about working with a dog that did not trust people. The goal was just to be able to give him basic care. The work this trainer, Kelly Lee, put in to help her dog get to this one simple goal of nail trimming was quite the overwhelming task. At one point Kelly Lee set up a scratch board where the dog frequently traveled to keep the nails short while she worked on building the trust and bond. She even clicker trained from a distance to teach the dog to scratch the board himself, tossing treats to him as reward. The time, the slow patience steps and the love this person put into this dog is motivating and tells me why cooperative care training should be taught to everyone, but that is a subject for another time.
What I really learned from this is I get to live in the dream or at least some of it. Working with clients, teaming up with vets and being able to support the dreams of owners to achieve their daunting goals. Your goals and how you better the quality of your dog’s life is up to you and we at Daack Pack are here to be part of your team!