Most Improved Dog would not exist without Geronimo. When we first brought Geronimo home, it was an exciting time, but we quickly realized he wasn’t well adjusted to the crazy world around him. Instead of feeling excited, I felt fear and isolation set in. As any dog owner who hasn’t experienced reactivity or behavioral challenges, I was overwhelmed. We sought help from a trainer and discovered she wasn’t equipped to deal with Mo’s issues either. Moving on, we found a wonderful trainer who gave us some hope and some tools.
Even now, we still deal with Mo’s issues: some of his behaviors have gotten better, others have taken step backwards, and even new ones have emerged. This is the dog we have and we’ll keep loving him and helping him. Our journey together is the inspiration for this blog.
That feeling of being alone has stayed with me over the years. Not because I feel it very often now, but because the scope of Mo’s behaviors made me feel helpless and fearful, bringing about this intense feeling of being alone. I was scared about all the possibilities that Mo presented including fear of him biting a person or another dog. I am very aware of the consequences for a dog that bites. That’s a huge source of anxiety. Then add to the equation: bad advice, judgement from others, and a lack of my own knowledge about how to help Mo. It was a recipe for a dark hole of loneliness.
It will all be OK
I now have a wonderful support system, knowledge, and acceptance. This blog came about to provide empathy for dog owners who are struggling with different issues. Working as an Assistant Dog Trainer, I see our clients filled with worry and/or embarrassment when they come in with their barking dog. I’ve been there and I still have that barky dog, so I can absolutely relate. I can’t always tell them everything is going to end with a parade and cookies, but I can confidently tell them it’s going to be ok. And ok doesn’t mean their dog is cured of whatever issues they have, but dogs can improve, the owner can make adjustments and learn, they can go work with qualified trainers and behaviorists, and in extreme cases they can explore different avenues like re-homing and yes, sadly, euthanasia*.
As long as the owner is acting within the best interest of the dog, it will all be ok. That’s what Most Improved Dog is all about. Whether you are an experienced dog trainer or newbie dog owner, working with a dog that has any kind of issues can be overwhelming and isolating. At Most Improved Dog we aim to:
- Share knowledge so you can make the best decisions
- Accept you and your dog the way you are because there is no good that comes from judging each other
- Create hope because we truly believe that it will be ok
- Build a community so that all dog owners know they are not alone in their struggles
The mission at Most Improved dog is to provide a safe place for challenging dogs and their dog parents by supporting, educating, and sharing relatable stories.
At Most Improved Dog we stay true to our values. I also want to be very honest in who we are so that there’s no confusion. The values listed below are important to this blog and if you don’t like it, well then, you are welcome to leave.
- There is too much hate and judgement going around. We’re calling Most Improved Dog blog a safe place. You are welcome to share opinions and argue opinions respectfully. Instead of passing judgement, we’ll aim to share facts and knowledge. If you are here, you probably have had enough stress with your dog and you need encouragement and hope, not a lecture or harsh words.
- We will only talk about positive training methods here. I will not condone using aversive methods on dogs or any other animal. Animals learn better with positive reinforcement, so we are going to stick to that! Before Mo came into our lives, we are pretty sure he was abused. After using a prong collar on him and hearing his yelps of pain, I quickly realized I could not cause this dog any more pain. Positivity fosters trusts, respect, and a powerful bond.
Owning or working with dogs that have challenges can be exhausting and frustrating. Here’s the thing though, if you don’t at least try to help that dog, what is their quality of life? If you can’t personally help them, educate yourself, ask for help, and go over all the options. You do need to be realistic and honest, but if you have obtainable goals (and reaching them might take some work!), at least try! It could make a world of difference for your dog.
What’s the definition of insanity? Doing something over and over again, expecting different results. If something isn’t working for your dog or your training, stop and get creative! Try something new or try something a different way. Not all dogs love treats, but let’s get creative and find out what they do love! I can’t lure my dog into a down, so I changed tactics and I’ve started capturing it. You can absolutely think outside of the box!
However long or difficult your journey with your dog is, you will naturally see growth in yourself. Be open to that! When I opened my heart to a reactive dog, it opened me up to the world of dog training and behavior and then, to this blog. That doesn’t have to be your journey, but our dogs have lessons to teach us, we just have to accept them! Continuing to learn and grow can lead to the most amazing things!
We all go through rough patches, so let’s lend a hand, offer a relatable story, and be a friend. I think kindness can cure a lot of things. so please think about your words and actions before they happen!
Let’s also be compassionate towards our animals too. They might have a behavior that annoys you, but let’s think about the why. Instead of yelling or using punishment, stop and think about how they must feel in certain situations. Are they scared or frustrated? Bored or nervous? Walk a mile in your dog’s paws.
At Most Improved Dog we like to keep an open mind. We welcome all walks of life and all types of dogs. Variety is the spice of life, so we’ll try anything once!
Currently, Most Improved Dog is a small blog with a small social media following. I am working full time, so my goal is to keep focusing on creating good content.
I’m working on my certification in dog training, so hopefully in the future, I can provide more expertise on dog training. As far as where any of this will go, I’m not really sure! There are hopes and dreams for this blog, but I am open to all the possibilities.
I hope you’ll hang out for the journey because it’s not about the destination, it’s how you get there!
*I would consider euthanasia as a last option for extreme cases. There are times when a dog’s genetics and/or their history cannot be overcome through medication, training, or management. It is so very sad, but despite our best efforts, their time here may never be happy. I would suggest exploring your options with professionals before making these decisions because, of course, this is not a decision to be taken lightly.