Tommy is the reason I became a trainer. Here is our background.
I learned training by being dominant and doing whatever was necessary to get the behavior I wanted. I didn’t like doing it but I didn’t know any other way. I’ve since become what’s termed a “crossover trainer.” I don’t use force or coercion or leash pops or prong collars, or even correction. I’ve learned it’s SO much easier to reward what you want repeated and let the pet choose to do what you’re encouraging.
I started studying training in earnest when we adopted Tommy at about two months of age. When I saw that little brown face and yellow eyes — that puppy was going to be mine. Tommy was never a cuddly pup. He was always curious, always interested in his environment. Before he was a year old, he had decided his job in life was to be our Sheriff. He took his job very seriously.
At home with us and with most people he was funny, happy, and playful. When people came to the door or in the house, he was vigilant in his duties. He might be friendly, he might not and I was never able to consistently identify most of the things that “set him off.”
I started learning about training. I read discussion boards for hours. I bought books and borrowed them from the library. I attended seminars. I attended classes with him and without him. I talked to other trainers. I joined professional organizations. I completed an individualized online program for theory with a shelter practicum. My fat, round puppy grew into a 90-pound dog that was solid muscle. He would lunge at people, he pulled me off my feet, he was scared of loud noises, he had separation anxiety, he destroyed our doorway twice.
I wanted to be as good a partner to my dog as I could be. I learned different techniques, training, behavior analysis, more body language specific to dogs, and environmental management. I became a Certified Pet Dog Trainer (CPDT). I used every tool I could find to help my dog.
For Tommy and me ours was a close and enormously rewarding relationship. His death was a very, very sad time for our household. He will never be replaced, ever. At this point some people give up on owning a dog because the sadness at the end is so devastating. I wanted to put to use what I learned to help other families and their pets, so I started Korrect Kritters. (It is no longer operating.)
I only worked with family dogs. It was important to me to help everyone live together comfortably so the pet got to stay in the home it had. My goal was to help with another “Tommy.”