Von Der Nordsee German Shepherds of Fox Hill Farm 69 Kimball Rd Amesbury, MA 01913

 

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Brigitte Franco MA Licensed Trainer/Instructor, AKC Canine Good Citizen Evaluator, AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy Evaluator

 

Understand behavior. Communicate with clarity. Teach with motivation.

 

  1. Are you doing right by your dog?

Grim, a wonderful dog I previously owned/trained/titled in Schutzhund and PSA, is now proudly serving the Belmont Police Department with officer/handler Cory Taylor. He was given to me as an 8 month old because I was told "he will never make it as a police dog" and he wouldn't bark in the work. While I generally enjoy challenges, I didn't take him on for that reason alone. I saw power and potential, he just needed someone to believe in him and help develop his attributes and drives. I took him with the hopes of making him my next National Schutzhund competitor, but I came to realize Police K9 was exactly what he was meant for. His barking can now be heard a mile away from the cruiser.

I think we have a responsibility to honestly assess each dog for their particular purpose...be it for companion, agility, sport , or police. If you struggle with evaluating your dog's raw talent or potential, hire a professional for an assessment, welcome multiple trainer's opinions. I don't agree with trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. I think it's disrespectful to the dog to try and make them what YOU want them to be rather than developing him or her for what he or she was meant to be best for.

During my early years of training horses, I felt compelled to train every horse to be a jumper. I wanted to be able to say I could, so I did. What initially brought me pride, soon turned to shame. I came to realize I was doing them a disservice and I changed my ways. I stopped defining the future of my youngsters and allowed them to define it for themselves. I apply that same method of development in training and value system to my dogs. When I evaluate a dog, I consider their natural drives, their motivation, their energy level, their structure and athleticism, and their genetic predispositions. It saddens me to see trainers suppress drive in a dog that was meant to work as much as it saddens me to see handlers pressure their dogs to perform when they're better suited as companions. It is far more gratifying to recognize raw talent in a dog and develop them to be the best at what THEY were meant to be.

It's important to mention that I don't take all of the credit in Grim turning out to be the outstanding dog that is. I had an incredible team of decoys to help him reach his full potential. Each and every one of them played a role in his development. (Andy Dietz, Francis Holder, Troy Casey, Steve Romard, Lance Woodley, and Scotty Franco) I don't think the person who raised him failed him. She provided him with some super foundation and did right by him by giving him to me, someone who could recognize his strengths, work on his weakness, and most importantly, believe in him.  -Brigitte Franco

 
         

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