As children, the lessons we learn from our parents stick with us our entire life. My mother was never shocked when I would bring home another animal. She taught me I can’t keep them all and I learned to “rehome” at an early age. That lesson has stuck with me, shaped me and brought me to the amazing place I’m at now.
I train, rescue, foster and rehome animals. In doing that, I’ve been able to help a lot of people keep their animals through education about canine body language, animal behavior and essentially being the boss or pack leader.
Sometimes pet parents get so frustrated with their dog and think getting rid of that dog is the only solution when it could be something as simple as teaching boundaries.
That’s where I can help and where I want to help. My passion is helping people keep their dogs in their home and everyone being at peace. I understand that some people want a dog that knows 100 tricks, but sometimes a well-behaved pet is enough. My focus is finding out what you want from your dog and what is the healthiest and safest way possible to make that happen.
For example, my husband and I have six dogs — an English mastiff, bull mastiff, Neapolitan mastiff, Fila Brasileiro (also known as a Brazilian mastiff), a great dane and a pit bull.
Our English mastiff isn’t expected to do the same things as our Fila, and we don’t train her to do the same things.
My husband uses the Fila as his demonstration dog for dog training. She has to pop and lock when told what to do because it’s her job. The only thing I require of my English mastiff is to be a surrogate mom to puppies we rescue and be well-behaved.
What we require of them is completely different and how we train them is completely different. But how we love them is exactly the same — consistently and with fairness. They both work hard at their jobs and we love them equally, therefore their positions in our pack are not in jeopardy. The same goes for every animal in our house. It’s the only way we can foster and rescue as many dogs as we do.
I’ve been offered a wonderful opportunity to help our community now by writing an advice column for pet owners. If you have any questions about training or need help with dog-behavior issues, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I will do my best to answer your questions here in a future column. I look forward to hearing from you soon!
Kathryn Leisinger is co-owner of School of Wags dog training program in Harker Heights. Contact her at email@example.com or (254) 681-4090.