This time it’s about a very, very sensitive topic, namely why I keep getting a new dog. Many people often ask me where Flip or Kurt or Winnie are. Then my answer is: “He’s no longer with me”. From “Ah, okay, great, great place” to “What kind of person are you” and worse, the reactions are pretty much all over the place. It is quite normal for a breeder or horse trainer to sell animals, so why not a dog trainer?
But why do I give away a dog every now and then? A dog has to stay with you until death do us part … doesn’t it? In a nutshell: No, he doesn’t have to. My job is as a dog trainer, which means I have to gain as much experience with dogs and their different uses as possible. This experience ranges from Belgian Shepherds to terriers and hunting dogs, and that is enormously important in order not to become – excuse the term – a “specialist idiot”. Of course, I also train countless client dogs that couldn’t be more different, but it’s not the same as when it’s your own dog.
If you as a trainer “manage” a dog well, then the “system” has worked once. Beware of trainers who always rave about a previous dog with whom training once worked well. A good trainer makes a good dog out of any dog. But that takes experience, and since I’m not planning to open an animal shelter and eventually own twenty dogs – between you and me: you can’t do justice to too many dogs – sometimes a dog has to go.
Of course, I only give my dogs to selected places and people. All my working dogs have been given a place where they can be worked with. I’ve seen them from time to time later or I get feedback on how they are doing, and they were all absolutely happy and satisfied. Insofar as you can judge that as a human being. But how does a four-legged friend feel when it leaves the person it grew up with? In a nutshell: frighteningly unromantically good. Anyone who has ever taken their dog to a good kennel knows what I mean.
Of course my dogs are happy when they see me again after the separation, but they also know exactly where they belong now, namely with their new human.
Dogs and dog training are my life, and I love my four-legged friends. However, to people who say they could never give their dog away like I did, I reply that I do it to develop myself. I want and need to do that too. The aim of a good dog trainer should always be to avoid stagnation. Nobody can say to me “Yes, you can’t have a say in that, you only have …”. Anyone who claims to know everything has already lost. That’s why I want to gain as much experience as I can. However, this only works in practice and not on paper.
As a dog trainer, I am of course not comparable to a family dog owner in this respect. I also build up a very deep emotional relationship with my dogs. And I would like to make it clear: I am absolutely against dogs being given away for the sake of convenience or when people give their dog away without giving it much thought.
I hope I was able to give you an insight into my view of things.