I have worked with dogs for approximately thirty years. In that time I have met only one dog who I felt, in my professional opinion, could not be rehabilitated and was a danger to humans and other animals. Only one dog who, sadly, had to be humanely put to sleep.
Unfortunately, throughout the past thirty years, I've encountered countless humans who have recommended dogs be put to sleep even though they could be rehabilitated. Simply because those humans, most of whom are well-meaning, hadn't yet tried a different way of approaching that dog and its training.
Every dog, just like every human, is different. There isn't one training approach that will work with every dog. Often I find that a dog who someone thinks can't be rehabilitated has only had one or two training styles attempted.
I believe that every dog deserves the chance at a happy, healthy life and I will use any humane training approach in order to accomplish that.
Which is how I met Anubis.
Anubis is a dog that came to me basically on death row, as she had MAJOR aggression issues towards dogs and cats, as well as a SUPER high prey drive. Virginia Paws for Pits, a local rescue organization, was desperate to save her but did not know what to do with her. Anubis spent time in boarding for a while, and then to a foster home where she broke loose from her harness during a walk and killed a cat right there in the street.
When the foster mom tried to get her away from the cat, Anubis started growling at her foster mom and would not let her get near.
I had reached out to the kind people at Virginia Paws for Pits offering assistance with any difficult cases they had. Anubis was the first dog that they asked me to help.
She spent a few weeks at my house for extensive rehab and training. I offered free training for life to anyone who adopted Anubis. That's how sure I was after she completed her training with me, that with the right parents and in the right environment, Anubis could live a long happy life in a loving home.
I am happy to report that she is now living in a foster home. Anubis was recently being boarded at a kennel when the foster parents were going out of town, She walked down the hallway of the kennel and did not react to the dogs who were barking at her at all.
The other day she went to a Christmas Tree Farm with her foster family and there were many other dogs there, many of whom were on flexi leashes, barking and yapping at her. Anubis did not react at all. Her behavior was impeccable.
I am sharing this because some folks think that there are dogs who cannot be rehabilitated. That instance is extremely rare. With the right trainer, the right training approach, and the right family, anything is possible.
We owe it to these dogs to explore every avenue. Especially when dogs like Anubis show us how rewarding it is when they get their happily ever after.