Sorry guys, I was tired last night...and I realize that it sounded really bad!
Nah, we just had a discussion last night after one of the other trainers "tried" to work Summer on the main floor last night. She was uncontrollable in her front clip, and they had to put a head halter on her...and she was still an idiot. She wanted to go after little dogs all night.
Her prey drive is through the roof when it comes to anything small (dogs, cats, guinea pigs, rabbits, squirrels, etc)...and I just haven't been able to get a handle on it. She would really kill something if given the chance, I have no doubt...this isn't just chasing behavior. The other trainers saw it last night. There were concerns, but I wanted to give her a chance.
I went in last night, with the idea that maybe I'd swap dogs with another trainer...one who didn't have small animals at home. But then I realized that it wasn't gonna solve anything...it would just remove her from my situation. Right now she has to live in a crate in the basement, and go outside only when all the cats and such are put away (try crating and rotating with a kitten!). She isn't allowed in the rest of the house unless the cats are away, which is rare because kittens don't like being locked away. It really sucks for her, and I feel guilty.
Her skills and obedience are really good...but as soon as she sees a small critter, she can't pay attention to me anymore. We came across a squirrel the other day, and I had to brace myself to keep her from pulling me...that can't happen with a SD.
I talked to the two directors of training last night, and we came to the conclusion that if she takes this level of management (with a trainer), then she won't be acceptable to put with a client. We've tried and failed in the past, and we're not willing to do it again. The criteria for a client would be insurmountable for her...someone with no smaller animals (dogs, cats, birds, etc), no one with small kids (kids squealing get the same reaction from her), someone who is very busy and goes out a lot, etc. That's hard to find.
So she's staying with me until we can find her a good home. She'd make an awesome performance dog...her obedience is fantastic, she has tons of drive, her retrieving and tugging are fabulous. I'll do a write-up of her later to post in various places.
I feel like a bit of a failure too, as I've only made it to matching once, with a client...and that dog washed after matching. I've washed numerous dogs. I do realize that I take on the hard cases that no one else wants to tackle...but part of me feels like I could do more. But most of me realizes that this dog needs an active performance home...or at least a good pet home where she'd go jogging and run around the backyard.
"I don't have any idea if my dogs respect me or not, but they're greedy and I have their stuff." -- Patty Ruzzo
"Dogs don't want to control people. They want to control their own lives." --John Bradshaw