Monday, February 15, 2010

Photo of the Week - Meijin


This is Meijin. He is originally from Bhaktapur, Nepal. Now he lives with me in Nasik, India. He's four years old.

Here's how I met him - 'How I Met Meijin'


Here is Meijin looking particularly fierce. He had some aggression issues when he was a puppy - if he didn't like something, he would switch from sweet to savage with such speed it was scary - but we worked through that with clicker training, positive reinforcement and some helpful suggestions from the members at Agbeh.

We're working on search and find at present, and we both enjoy that very much. I'm glad I went online to seek help, rather than going with a local trainer the vet recommended. Many of the trainers here follow the 'old-fashioned' training methods, which usually involve punishments and rough corrections. I once saw one of them work with the neighbor's dog, wielding a stick and yanking hard at the choke chain, and I thought, no way I'm ever going to let anyone do that to my dogs. I have to mention here that my other two dogs, Munchkin, 11,  and Chubary, 6, are both local breeds and never once displayed the type of frenzied aggression that Meijin did.

Anyway,  that sort of training would have ruined him. He's very intelligent, he likes to have things explained to him, he does not like being ordered around or threatened or yelled at or being forced anymore than I do. It is important to respect your dog as an individual, to build up trust and liking rather than fear and submission, and clicker training has certainly helped us understand each other better.

I told the vet about it, so he would pass it on to his other clients and perhaps it'll help them too. The problem is some people like having an aggressive dog that nobody can manage, they somehow think it's a good thing.

A gentleman in the area has a six-month old bull mastiff that he is afraid of already, and there's a chap with a quite dangerous rottweiler - it has bitten him four times and recently it went for his mother when she ordered it off the bed; it bit her on her arm, going right down to the bone, and if she hadn't grabbed a chair and hurled it at the dog and got out of the room and slammed the door, it would have gone for her neck.

And these people still get a kick out of telling everyone what an aggressive creature their dog is. The vet said he has given up treating some of these animals. It's too risky for me, he told the owners, which probably only bolstered their egos more. Some people really shouldn't keep animals.

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