There is always that one dog. You know, the one that makes you see things in a different light. For me her name is Millie. Shes not you average dog. Shes crazy, insane, adorable, way to smart, and for us trainers, shes the dog that taught me everything I know.
I guess you could say she was a gift from my father, but that's not really accurate. To make a long story short, I fell in love with a puppy that one of my dad's clients had bred. The couldn't afford their bill so the offered him a trade for a puppy. She wasn't the one I wanted. I wanted a red merle male, his name was going to be Maverick. Sadly he was already spoken for, so Millie it was.
Puppy hood was hard. I had no idea what kind of dog she would grow up to be and how much time would be required to develop a sound dog. I failed really before I started with that. At the time I was living with my sister, her young daughter, and their two small dogs in an apartment that was all too small. I was going to school full time as well as working full time and spending hours of the day at the barn with my horse.
I can't tell you the number of pants and underwear I had to replace, both mine and my sisters, countless stuffed animals that belonged to my niece, or how many times I had to pay to have our carpets shampooed. One thing I can tell you that she was a major point of stress, for both me and my sister.
After many people suggesting that I sign her up for some obedience classes, I finally listened. I signed her up for a beginner level class at a local pet store and things took off from there! As she progressed, so did I, and so did my drive to learn all I could. I read countless books and articles, watched countless you tube videos, and attended a few seminars and classes with other trainers.
While she is still a challenging dog at times, she is the one that inspires me to help others with their behavioral problems. I was lucky enough to have her as my partner throughout The Karen Pryor Academy.