This past weekend my parents had a dog behavior specialist come assess their dog. They adopted Cooper from the Brevard County Animal Shelter and have had him about six months. Like most, if not all shelter dogs, you never know what kind of environment the dog was in before the shelter. Lately Cooper has been doing things that got everyone thinking.
Growing up, the dog I had as a kid was the best dog you could ever ask for. R.C. was incredibly sweet to all the kids and extremely tolerant of us playing with him. He was the dream dog for a family with many kids. We were very lucky! Also, we got R.C. straight from a litter, so we knew his history.
Not knowing what Cooper has experienced in the past is difficult and our first reaction is to spoil him and give him lots of love. We found out this past weekend that while loving on your dog is not a bad thing, there is a specific way of communicating with your dog. Allen Dye, the dog behavior specialist, was amazing! He came to the house and sat down with all of us who interact with Cooper on a regular basis and gave us the full skinny on dogs.
He started out by asking us behavior characteristic questions about Cooper to get a better understanding of who Cooper is. Allen then shared about where dogs come from, their thought process, and how they communicate. After that he talked about discipline. Once we knew how a dog communicates the discipline made so much sense.
The next thing he did was meet Cooper. We brought Cooper in from the backyard and watched as Allen interacted with him. Allen spent the next 45 minutes showing us how to interact with Cooper in a way that makes sense to Cooper.
When all was said and done the information presented by Allen was extremely helpful, not only to interact with Cooper but also for Oscar. I feel much more equipped to interpret why Oscar does certain things and how discipline him so that Charlotte, Michael and I have the best interaction possible.
If you have a dog I would highly recommend contacting Allen Dye, especially if that dog comes from a shelter. The knowledge that he has is great and will help create a safe environment for you. Also, if you have kids I would encourage you to contact him. I feel much better about having an animal interacting with my child due to the information he provided us!