Dog Lover or Dog Handler? You can’t be both, Really?

When I first started this journey; one of the first things that was told to me was, you are either a dog handler or a dog lover. You can’t be both. I have struggled with this saying for over a year now. Not really understanding why? To the point where I have researched it and dissected this subject back and forth, and still came up with the same result and answer in my mind. Why can’t you? You can be a dog handler and have that dog respect you but also show love and leadership to that dog and treat it like a family member.

Dog handlers study animal behavior in order to train, handle and care for dogs. To effectively teach, these trainers must discipline animals by establishing themselves as the dominant one. For example, they use positive reinforcement to reward good behavior and they can use behavior modification techniques to correct or adjust bad behavior. Can this be compared to a mother or father animal showing love or disciplining their young in the wild? I think so!

If you have the opportunity at least once in your life to love a dog and treat it with kindness and respect, that respect, love, and loyalty will be returned to you by that dog regardless of its breed, size or gender. That is why it is so important to the Throw Away Dogs Team to house these dogs in a family atmosphere while they are in our program (not in kennels) and treat these dogs with love and kindness while in training, this makes them “want” to work and “please” us during this process. This process that we use is a much slower paced process but we have found it to be very successful.  It is a win-win situation!  Please note that there is always exceptions to the rule and sometimes you will have that difficult dog with the aggressive personality to deal with. It happens and it is expected, bottom line, they are still animals. This is where a professional handler comes into play, but never to say, this handler does not “love” dogs.

I am sure this will stem a bit of controversy among my fellow followers but I am going to stand my ground and still say it is possible to be a dog lover and a dog handler!  These opinions are my own,  I welcome your feedback!