There are no bad dogs. Only bad owners. Yes, certain breeds are bred with certain traits. But dogs are pack animals. They are family animals. They want to love and be loved. That’s it. Eat, drink, play, love. That is a dog’s interest. They want an alpha to be in charge. To tell them yes, no and set boundaries. They are happy with that. Dogs love being a part of a family, and they are naturally protective of children.
Dogs are not people. They do not think like people or react like people. They are dogs. Understand your dog, before you judge your dog, or anyone else’s dog.
My rescue pup was given up by her first adopters for biting a kid. They didn’t understand her, because they had a big family and a bunch of dogs and they didn’t have time to understand her issues. I fell in love with her at first sight. A 22 pound, three-legged dog who was clearly terrified. But instead of cowering, she barked, and snarled and said “If you take me down, I’m taking you down with me!!”
Man. I could respect that. Fearless. A fearless little three legged dog. I had to get to know her. And, after a week, she came home with me.
It was just me and Lisa against the world. I’ve loved her with all my heart, and I worked with a trainer to understand why she behaves aggressively toward strangers. He helped me understand how she thinks, and how I should behave in order to put her at ease.
My dog has behavioral issues. She’s aggressive to strangers. She has separation anxiety. Yes, it can be stressful to deal with. However.
My dog is the brightest part of my life. She saved me from the darkness more times than I can count, simply by loving me. She makes me smile every day. Everyone who has gotten to know her (after the initial scary introduction) has grown to love and respect her fearless spirit and intelligence.
And sometimes, when the world seems so sad I can’t imagine existing for one more day, she looks at me with those big brown eyes and asks me why I’m sad. “Mama, why are you sad when walks, and car rides, and chasing squirrels are so much fun!” She would lay with me in bed for an entire day. Not asking for anything. Just being with me, because she knew I was sad.
The rescue group I adopted Lisa from told me that they weren’t sure they would be able to adopt her out to anyone because of her aggression. They said they felt so lucky that I wanted her, because they loved her and didn’t know how to rehome her.
Lisa brightens every day. She hops up to me in bed in the morning and looks me in the eyes. She says “Cheer up Mama. Life is simple. Life is about loving your pack, protecting your pack, and enjoying every moment without being concerned one bit for what’s going to happen someday. Because right now we get to go outside and chase kitties! Isn’t that wonderful!”
And sometimes, I think to myself. “Yeah, that is pretty wonderful.”