With the right conditioning

With the right conditioning Recently, a friend stopped by my house. He had Trevor the dog with him in his car, as he was on his way to take Trevor for a walk. I went over to the car to say hello to Trevor, and Trevor enthusiastically thumped the back

Recently, a friend stopped by my house.

He had Trevor the dog with him in his car, as he was on his way to take Trevor for a walk.

I went over to the car to say hello to Trevor, and Trevor enthusiastically thumped the back seat of the car with his tail, then wiggled into the front seat for a pat. I had no treats or rewards for him, just some friendly words and some affection.

He then sat patiently and attentively while my friend and I chatted beside the car. A small child ran by, and some people passed by, walking dogs. Trevor watched them, and he didn’t appear at all agitated by their presence.

I had only met Trevor once before, about a month ago, when my kids and I took him for a walk. Yet he greeted me yesterday with happy tail-wags, friendly eye-contact and puppy wiggles.

I never would have recognized him from his assessment report, which describes him as socially disengaged.

This makes me wonder if the circumstances of the assessment were unfavourable, given the tight confines of the office he was assessed in, and the distracting sounds and smells of other animals.

Or maybe Trevor simply needed some exercise, fresh air and mental stimulation before he could focus properly.

Erica Rozsa-Atkinson, the local dog trainer who has been training Trevor, describes him as energetic, highly motivated, and very trainable.

Good training will not change a dog’s underlying character, but it certainly gives that dog some clear guidelines for how to interact appropriately with the social world.

Trevor never had the benefit of training or adequate social conditioning until now. Even with the tight restrictions of his short leash, muzzle and cage, Trevor is showing huge potential. A number of community volunteers, including several experienced trainers, have offered to work with him. It is heartening to see the extent to which the community has come out in support of this dog.

I ask that the people who hold Trevor’s life in their hands right now please take the time to get to know him. If that is not possible for you, then please take into consideration the experiences of all the people who have worked with him. None of these people are willing to simply throw Trevor’s life away, and with the TLC they are offering him, he is blossoming.

Rachel Westfall

Whitehorse