All names have been trained to protect the innocent (and the guilty)
Oh what a day! For those of you who don't know, I foster a dog named Icing for the Humane Society. Icing is a handful. She's a cattle dog (supposedly mix) and she definitely displays all the behaviors that are characteristic of cattle dogs. She's really sweet, don't get me wrong. However, she's also high energy and very opinionated. While I think she's a really great dog, she and Cody just don't get along, and that's a problem for me.
Anyway, I brought her to my house in October with the intention of training her. I wish I had realized then how much added stress that would be. I spend 10 hours a day training dogs, and when I'm not training I'm thinking about training or studying training methods or planning for more training. Having a dog in my house that needed to be trained from scratch was just a little bit more than I could handle.
Back in December, though, Cary from the Humane Society called to say that the boarding facility Doggie Day Spa would be taking Icing to train her and that I would get the dog they had just trained. Admittedly I was upset at first. My thought was, "I've failed them and let them down. They think I suck!" Then, however, a thought occured to me. Maybe they didn't think I'd failed them. Maybe they just realized what an added task that was and wanted to give me a break. Taking in a trained dog to keep her training up would be a lot easier on me, and Doggie Day Spa had the facilities to train Icing properly. This wouldn't just benefit me, it would greatly benefit Icing (and any other dog who entered the program). Once Icing was trained, I'd be happy to take her back (which would be great because otherwise she'd go into a kennel where no one would work with her), but in the mean time I could have some down time. Oh what a blessing!! So, I quite happily dropped Icing off at Doggie Day Spa yesterday morning and picked up Valentine (the previously trained dog) to continue working with her.
Then, at about 5:30 last night, Cary gave me a call. The owner of Doggie Day Spa did not realize that Valentine (and any dog after) would be going to another trainer after they left Doggie Day Spa. Apparently, this was a conflict of interest for them and they were suspending our contract until better arrangements could be made.
First of all, let me make it clear that it was never any secret that I was another trainer. Not only had it been mentioned in emails, it had been clear that this was the Humane Society's choice because then all these trained dogs would go into a home with someone who was used to working with them.
Second of all, (in case anyone at Doggie Day Spa happens to read this) never was it my intention to train these dogs in any new way. I very much respect the methods with which they were already trained, and I even use those methods myself. Never would I claim that I had trained the dogs, for that would be unethical. I would only want to see these dogs to continue to improve. In fact, in the few hours we've had Valentine, Hans has been the main one to work with her. Why? Because she's afraid of men, and each time Hans works with her that's one man she's a little less afraid of.
Third of all, what kind of dog-friendly company would do that to a homeless dog? They're lucky I'm a pushover, and I'm very lucky that Hans is so understanding and patient. If that were not the case, then Icing would not have a home to come back to. How awful of a person would I be if I turned her out into the cold?
Now, maybe I'm wrong about all this. Maybe there's just been some major confusion, and in a few short days everything will be worked out and we'll all be happy. However, right now I am not happy. I am ticked off. I am flabbergasted. I am disappointed in a lot of people right now. Actually, as an ego-boost to myself I'm also a bit pleased. I can only assume that Doggie Day Spa has heard of me and sees me as a major threat. (Thinking this makes me happy. Please don't burst my bubble.)
So, now I have a lot of work to do. I have decided that Icing needs more than what I was able to give her before. Giving her more would make me feel better about myself, so that's what I'm going to do. It might not be a lot more, but it will be more. I promise myself and Icing and Hans that things will not be the same as what they were. Things will be different. Wish me luck!
P.S. If anyone reading this would care to help me train a dog, either through motivation or as an actual assistant, I'd be more than happy for the help. Motivation is what I need most though, so please don't hesitate to give me daily (hourly) reminders!