My Training Inspiration
I had half of this post written thinking I knew who my training inspiration was. I wrote about Mauja and Atka and how their pyr nature pushed me to be a better trainer. I wrote how they forced me to learn new techniques, change my habits, and get creative. I went on and on about them until it hit me: they weren’t my first training inspiration.
If you’ve been around here awhile, you know a bit about Kaeto. Kaeto was the first dog my husband and I got together – he’s what truly made us a family. After moving across the country and away from family, we knew we couldn’t be without a dog. So, we headed to the local shelters and immediately fell in love with Kaeto.
His different colored eyes, his freckles, and his half floppy ears – I couldn’t resist that face. He was extremely malnourished and had obviously had zero training. At about a year of age, he didn’t know how to sit or even his own name. He came home with us later that day.
Over the next few weeks, we slowly started to realize the extent of his “issues”. While the shelter told us he wasn’t leash-reactive, he definitely was. They also told us he was great with other dogs, which he wasn’t. He was far too excited and didn’t know how to handle his emotions, which often turned into aggression. He also had terrible separation anxiety and chewed his way through a metal crate in less than a half hour.
I quickly realized why he was relinquished by not one, but two families. However, I knew he wasn’t going anywhere. He was ours and ours to stay.
Since we had just moved and were only supposed to be in that location for 5 months, I didn’t get a job. This gave me ample time to work with Kaeto. I knew how to teach basic commands, but Kaeto’s needs went far past that. I can’t even remember the number of books I read and hours I spent online researching and learning.
We were out and about every day. Kaeto taught me how to exercise a dog on a bike and just how much energy a dog can have. He taught me how to be patient. He taught me how to get out of my comfort zone. He taught me more than I can possibly say.
Kaeto lived with us for less than a year before he very unexpectedly passed away. I still remember that day like it happened in slow motion and am tearing up as I write this.
Thanks to Kaeto, I learned how to work on so many skills, including leash-reactivity, over-excitement, separation anxiety, and overall socialization. He pushed me to my limits and there were days I cried and cried because I was so overwhelmed.
But thanks to Kaeto, I now have the confidence to take on “tough cases”. I’ve built a foundation for dealing with difficult behavioral issues. I can help save more dogs.
So, here’s to Kaeto – my true training inspiration. We miss you every day <3