Meet Pearl, a three-year-old German Shepard/Lab. Pearl is a dual-purpose K9 who works not only as a psychiatric/mobility service dog but also as a Therapy Dog at local 911 centers and nursing homes. Pearl knows all traditional Basic Obedience commands, four service dog tasks, including fetch, and almost a dozen tricks. She does not chew, is housebroken, and is considered an exceptional dog. Pearl is the definition of a working dog; the catch is that she won't work for you!
If I, as her Handler, were to place Pearl in another individual's home, that fantastic dog would quickly learn that you don't know the rules and she doesn't trust you. While it is unlikely she will chew on your furniture or potty in your house, you will have little to no control over her. You can tell her to sit, and she may listen, but she will likely ignore you. First and most importantly, the reason is that you have not built a bond or trust with her. Secondly, you need to learn the game's rules, and it will only take her a short time to figure you don't know the rules.
You see working dogs in public, the videos on social media, and may think that those dogs would be well-behaved in any environment. What needs to be understood is that a well-trained dog works for that Handler rather than for people as a whole. These circumstances do not mean the dogs are aggressive or destructive while away from their handlers, but it often means that the well-trained dog you see on the video will only perform those tasks or tricks for people who are their Handlers. The reason may be that you didn't ask the right way or that the dog is smart enough to realize that you don't know the game, so they can bully or ignore you.
We here at Blue Cord K9 offer limited board and training programs because we know that our working dog works for us. After all, we have spent hours and years building a trusting relationship and working with them with our training goals in mind. While we could take your dog to the kennel and advance them to their highest working potential when we return them to you, you run into the same problem you would have with Pearl; our working dog won't work for you.
If you are looking for training or hoping to advance your dog to any working discipline, find a trainer who will walk with you, not train your dog. Your dogs must build trust and confidence in you as the Handler, not someone else. The game rules need to be established and maintained by you, and most importantly, your dog needs to see you as the leader.
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