Karla News

Mercy-me! How My Boston Bull Terrier Retrained Me in 1.5 Hours

“She ate my best pair of shoes. She just won’t listen. And, worst of all, she ran into traffic; the police had to stop and lend a hand in catching her a few weeks ago!”

My voice was filled with panic as I explained the situation to Michele, an experienced dog trainer. My face wore the frustration and worry from the growing tension of raising a 7-month old Boston Bull Terrier named: Mercy-me!

Michele agreed to meet with me and help me train Mercy. She gave me a list of essential training tools: a cotton web long line lead; a clicker and treats; and, a belt buckle collar. Her training philosophy also included the use of a remote control dog training collar.

Honestly? I was very nervous about the training collar. The collar was black and heavy. Its remote control hung around my neck at the end of a long strap. I had no idea how to turn it on and wasn’t sure I wanted to learn.

But my anxious feelings melted away as Michele instructed me in the proper use of a training collar. Perhaps, more importantly, she taught me 3 things that I continue to reinforce every day.

First, I had to be open to new techniques and methods. Michele was the expert; I was the novice despite the fact that I had previously trained small animals including my 14-year-old Australian shepherd–Merle.

Using a remote control training collar however was new to me and I was squeamish. Settings were based on attitude and sensitivity not weight or breed. I had to retrain myself to listen and carefully follow the expert’s instructions and advice. I incorporated using the training collar and transmitter as part of my daily schedule.

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Second, consistency is essential for long term results. When Michele told me that I would have to practice using the remote on Mercy every day, I didn’t know if I would have the physical strength to follow through with her guidelines.

Several years back I had been diagnosed with muscular dystrophy. More recently, my doctor believed that I also suffered with fibromyalgia. Some days my legs felt like lead.

Oddly enough, however, the more I worked with Mercy, the easier it became to handle her. She no longer raced me for an open door; and, she was eager for training! And, so was I. Now it is practice, praise, and progress.

Third, dog training is about changing behavior. Training involved both mine and Mercy’s personality. For example, from the time she was six weeks old, I treated Mercy like I would have a small baby. I cooed, hugged, kissed, and carried her everywhere.

Mercy was spoiled rotten! And, there was no one to blame but me. Puppies are cute but they are animals which require specialized training depending on their unique personality especially as they grow older and larger. I see her now as my companion-not a brat!

After my first training class, I learned that puppy obedience class is essential for a happy home. However, there are different types of training available which involve a wide range of techniques and methods. So, be sure that you understand the methods (pros and cons) that your trainer offers. Next, ask yourself if you are willing and able to commit to the time necessary for training with long term results. And, finally, training is about you. Your puppy looks to you for leadership and guidance. My first day of training changed me and how I am now raising my best companion-Mercy-me!