Going To The Dogs

ImageTheories abound on what dogs need in order to be happy and successful pet dogs. Happy may be subjective but successful means they remain in the home they find themselves. Some will suggest they need love, leadership, dominance, training, etc., and definitions of each will vary from person to person. But the one thing we know about dogs is that they are social animals who have been bred to include humans as part of their social network. Dogs may benefit from social interactions with other dogs, but they don’t survive for long if they don’t have positive social interactions with people.

For years I have been involved with rescue groups in Puerto Rico, including the islands of Vieques and Culebra. The stray dog population on these islands exists in numbers that could be considered epidemic. There are a variety of reasons why this is occurring and hard-working, devoted people are addressing them, specifically making spay/neuter programs and affordable health care more readily available to owners.

In May of this year I will be bringing a group of dog-enthusiasts to Puerto Rico to work with owners, shelter staff and rescue groups to share information about force-free and coercion-free training methods. It is my belief that if people have a better understanding of how to teach dogs new behaviors using modern training techniques it is easier for dogs to learn them. When a dog comes when called, waits when asked to, and can perform a silly trick or two to delight an owner, these dogs will remain in their homes. It is the lack of a positive relationship between a dog and owner that allows for the abandonment and neglect of dogs that is seen not only in Puerto Rico, but around the world.

Participants do not need to have any special skills or training to join us. People interested in learning more about modern dog training are welcome. Along with contributing to changing a culture’s view of their dogs we’ll also be exploring the islands’ unique and exquisite beaches and forests. I hope you can join me!

Let me know if you have any questions. Visit this webpage for more information.

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5 comments so far

  1. KDKH on

    Took my poodle hiking in the mountains yesterday. We had a great time, and it reminded me of your post that dogs need more than just surviving– they want adventure! They want a life !

    • Debbie Jacobs on

      Always a wonderful thing to do with a dog!

  2. jet on

    that sounds like an interesting trip! I am thinking that there might be room for that kind of thing in remote Australian communities, one day.

  3. Katherine on

    Very interesting posts/information. I just adopted a “Wadi dog” here in Oman. I’ve had him for about three weeks and the training is going very well. Only challenge is the biggest: It appears that he was abused by local work crews that dress in coveralls and are sub-continent people groups (so darker skinned than we are). Because of this, whenever I try to take him for a walk, and sees a worker, he freaks out and struggles to return to our home. The entire walk is his fear of shadows, sounds and people.

    This morning I kept going even though he tried to return. He’s about 11 months old, looks like an Egyption jackle dog (think hieroglyphics). Super sweet and loving. Would be a great case study! Here is an article that appeared about him just prior to my adoption: http://www.y-oman.com/2013/09/paw-pup/

    • fearfuldogs on

      Thanks for sharing your pup’s story. I hope you have a chance to check out fearfuldogs.com to learn about desensitization and counterconditioning which are the ways we help change how dogs feel about things that scare them.


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