There are those who might think that pit bulls are aggressive by nature and that once a human has taught a dog to behave aggressively and fight, that the dog will always be a fighter.
The rehabilitation of Michael Vick’s dogs has challenged that assumption.
Read the story of Audie, formerly known as “Chesapeake 54902,” who was rescued and rehabilitated by a loving family. Those of us who have loved a fearful or reactive dog will understand the struggles Audie’s family went through during his rehabilitation.
Key training-related points from Audie’s story:
- Nearly any dog can be trained, no matter what its history.
(Only one of the 49 Vick dogs was euthanized.)
- A dog that has not had proper socialization as a puppy is going to require more time and effort than one that has been socialized.
(Important for those who rescued a puppy mill dog or purchased from a pet store.)
- Counter-conditioning takes time and patience.
(Audie’s recovery took several years.)
- Focus on the baby steps and celebrate those tiny victories with lots of treats.
(Did you get two feet closer to the “scary” person or another dog? Woohoo!)
Figure out what your dog loves and help them do it. Whether it’s agility like Audie, or Nose Work, or Treibball, or hiking in the woods, see what makes your dog joyful and do that thing!