Home Dog behavior Sunday Sit-Down: Mastering dog behavior with Bob Clark – news – telegram.com

Sunday Sit-Down: Mastering dog behavior with Bob Clark – news – telegram.com

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NORTHBRIDGE – When there’s a dog problem, even experienced animal professionals call Bob Clark. Mr. Clark is the owner of Bob Clark’s Dog Training, located at Clark’s Dog Kennels, a boarding house, dog day care, grooming and training facility owned by his ex-wife, Beth Clark.

Mr. Clark said, “I’ve always had a talent for dogs. He has been training them for 40 years, but started the business in 1992. Mr. Clark works with private dog owners looking for help, future owners and dogs brought to the kennel by the regional agent. Daniel Chauvin Animal Control Center, which serves Northbridge, Millbury and Sutton. He also worked with Upton for animal control.

You are known to handle aggressive and problematic dogs. How did you get into the aggressive dog end?

“When I started this business, I did a lot of personal protection dogs. I had a multi-year contract with the Department of Defense for military patrol dogs. I imported them from France, like the Belgian Malinois. train them here and sell them to the military. I would send them to Lackland Air Force Base; they have a huge kennel there. “

What makes Belgian Malinois good for this job?

“They are very intelligent and highly motivated dogs. Not for everyone. We always said that this was the Ferrari of dogs. If you don’t have three or four hours a day to work with a dog, you don’t. can’t They are very protective. They have a lot of mouth. They are very good at biting. “

What do you see here with the civilian population? What types of dogs are brought to you for training?

“There is a huge amount of dogs coming from the South via PetFinder.com. I bet you 60% of the dogs I train now are mixed breeds coming from Tennessee, Georgia and Arkansas. Lots of them. they are scent hounds, mixtures, which can be difficult because dogs as a breed … it’s a hound. They are more independent than, say, a golden retriever who wants to stay with you. of them are good dogs. “

It appears that in many dog ​​hearing cities this tends to involve a problem with a pit bull. What’s wrong with them?

“A lot of the dogs I get are pit bull mixes. The challenge with pit bulls is that they are very intelligent and very motivated because they are terriers which makes them stubborn. rat terriers and Jack Russell terriers and all are very stubborn but they only weigh 20 pounds.

“The challenge is getting people to understand how to handle a dog like that because one of the things I hear all the time that lifts the hair on my neck is, ‘Well, if you breed it right. “You don’t breed the dog, you manage it.

“A lot of the problems that are caused to dogs are because people humanize them. It is not bad for them, it is understanding the true nature of the dog and how to handle them properly so that they are under your control. . And it is through mutual exchange. Trust and respect; it is not by being mean or aggressive with them. Because violence breeds violence. Wickedness in dogs is a learned behavior, believe it or not. “

“You have young kids or young adults who have a pit bull and want them to be big and muscular, and they do everything they shouldn’t be doing – playing tug-of-war, which brings out the prey. of the dog.They play prey games by throwing the ball.

“Terriers are the only breed of dogs, from large to small, that are bred to kill another animal. They are bred to prey on vermin. So we are really trying to deal with these types of dogs and things. ‘educate people to make them understand that we don’t want this instinct, this heightened drive in dogs. What we need is obedience training so that there is a good relationship dog handler. do? ‘ instead of being independent, to do it on your own. “

So what do you think is the biggest mistake humans make with dogs?

“Treat them like a human. If you treat a dog like a human, they will always treat you like a dog.

“People say, ‘Oh, I love this dog, I sleep with this dog, I give him the best food, but he never comes when I call him.…’ Dogs need a leadership position. clearly defined. If there isn’t, then they look around and say, “Oh, no one is responsible, I have to take care of it. I must protect my territory. No one else is. “”

How do you teach people to do this?

“Obedience training is much more than training the dog, the physical act of sitting and lying down and all those things that we do in obedience class. It is training for whether the dog has an obedient attitude towards you, or what I call a good dog relationship manager. A dog needs to know who is responsible, but this relationship is based on mutual trust and respect. is not based on aggression, fear or pain.

Do you have a particular success story that you like to share?

“The turnaround comes when people understand their role in dog ownership. I have had hundreds of success stories of people coming here with a completely aloof and callous dog, and within a week or two of dog ownership. ‘between them just understanding that the dog has to see you as a leader … the dogs turn around almost overnight. “

Besides understanding the handler-dog relationship, what else should dog owners know?

“I have what’s called a pre-puppy package. If you’re going to buy a dog, buy a puppy, come see me first. We’ll talk about what you need and your responsibility over the next 15 years. Because this dog needs this attention every day. I think a lot of people don’t understand what they’re getting into.

“You still worry about the dog. It’s a huge expense. It’s $ 200 or $ 300 every time you go to the vet. We recommend pet insurance now because if you have a serious problem… and that you go to Tufts, it’s nothing to spend $ 3,000 or $ 4,000 there one afternoon.

“So the pre-puppy makes you sit down, understands what you need, understands what the dog needs to be trained as soon as he walks through the door, even at 8 weeks old, because the imprint stays with the dog from the day he was born … It’s just a rehearsal: what do I want this dog to do when he’s 2 years old? And you have to start this at 8 weeks old.

“It’s a huge liability. The # 1 insurance claim now is dog bites. It’s like a billion dollar problem for insurance companies. If people don’t wake up, it’ll probably come down to you can’t own a dog that weighs over 20 pounds just because of responsibility.There is a long list of dogs out there, and it’s not just the ones you might think of, that if the insurance company finds out you have it in your house, they will cancel you.

“At the end of the day, you have to train your dog and he has to start early.”

Contact Susan Spencer at susan.spencer@telegram.com. Follow her on Twitter @SusanSpencerTG


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