Saying goodbye in stressful times

Hello,

I am Jennifer Williams certified dog trainer and I killed my dog… Please read the full story.

I know it has been a long time from my last post.  Ranging from aggression cases, pet sitting, dog walking and regular dog training classes it has been hard to sit down and do a decent post.  I ended up coming to a quick stop in January when I ended up in a car accident and a car on top of me breaking my back.  I had moral support from family and friends but once again my amazing dog Nyssa who had work beside me (In dog training) became an emotional support dog.  When my PTSD kicked in during the night she would wake up and come to my aid until I was able to fall back to sleep.  When my fiance had to go to work she kept a watchful eye on me.

Nyssa was helping me just as she had always helped everyone who she ever meant, she was more than just a dog she was my daughter.  Some dog trainer’s may tell you not to look at your dog as a family member like a human I am here to tell you do so!  You will form a bond stronger and know that you have a dog that will always be with you and willing to work their hardest to please you without being in fear.  You will get to know your dog in more detail than those who just view them as lower being.  Dogs are amazing, and when you view them in a higher light they become even more amazing and are able to reach higher goals you have for them.

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Within a week of me returning from the hospital, in a back brace and stuck in bed Nyssa all of the sudden took a turn for the worst.  She would still be willing to go outside and go to the bathroom and eat, but as soon as she was done she would come in and lay down and go to sleep.  The joyful playful five year old Golden was now sleeping more than our 8 year old Golden.  It was like something had sucked the life force out of her.  The first vet had no idea what was wrong and my fiance was sent to the CAVES emergency room.  It was there she ended up having an ultra-sound where the vet saw liquid in her heart sac.  That liquid was crushing her heart, they stated they can drain the liquid and there was a good chance that this was a fluke and would not fill up again.  As soon as they removed the liquid from the heart sac she was back to herself but the vet wanted to keep her over night just to make sure she was stable.        20150223_143508

It was at this point the hell weekend began, her heart sac would keep filling and they would have to re-drain the sac.  we were waiting for another expert to come in on Monday to see what a spot was on her heart.  Most of the vets believed it wasn’t cancer and my fiance and I wanted to know what was going on before we decided what to do next.  She was comfortable and mostly stabled with a few dips here and there.  For some god unknown reason this emergency vet did not have on call ultra-sound readers for the different body parts.  To me, they should always be on call, after all emergencies do not just happen during the week.  Monday came, and we were still waiting to hear what was going on with Nyssa, half of the day was gone and we finally called getting sick of waiting.  We wanted our girl back home with her family.  Once they had finally finished reading her scans we got the phone call.  It was the hardest phone call I have ever had to take.  I was informed that the spot was cancer, and it was a rapid form of it.   It wouldn’t have even matter if we had brought her in a month ago the tumor wouldn’t have even shown up.

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We asked if there way anything that could be done.  The vet said, yes a $10,000 surgery to remove and repair the heart, then chemo, and radiation.  This would give her at most 6 months to live three of which she would be trying to heal from the surgery and cancer treatments.  It was at this point I had to hand the phone over to my fiance as I felt like someone had stab me in the heart.  Once we got off the phone, I got help out of bed, got my back brace on, and went out with my walker.  I did not care about the pain ranging from the car ride to even walking I was going to see my daughter.  Once we got there we waited in a private room and the vets brought Nyssa to us, she was having a good moment, and had enough energy to run up to me and give me a lick on the face.  We talked to the vet some more making sure that what they stated was true, and there was no other way.  We were told to take our time, which then we asked if we could take her for a walk around the building outside.  She loves walks, it was a freezing cold day in January but Nyssa loved the winter.  While my fiance walked her on leash I trailed behind with my walker, once in a while taking a few pictures and videos of the two of them together

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  After the walk we went back inside to warm up in our private room and spent a few more hour with Nyssa.  We told her how her older sister was doing, what was happening at the house.  We also made her some promises.  When I was in the room with her by myself I told her what an amazing dog she has been and I only wish that we had more time together.  We started to noticed she was loosing energy and we knew from what the vet told us she was losing too much blood at this point.  When I looked at her gums they were white and I knew it was time before she had a heart attack.  We called in the vet, and while I wasn’t able to get down on the ground with her my fiance held her close and we said our goodbyes.  The vet told us we were doing the right thing, and her honestly would not put her own dog through the treatment that she told us about.

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I can’t tell you how much those final moments seemed to slow down.  The vet with the needle, I wanted to scream and stop her before she did anything to Nyssa but  I knew if I did I would only cause  Nyssa more suffering in the long run.  It would be selfish of me to keep her going only to have the cancer come back somewhere else in her body.  It would be selfish for me to put her through a surgery after going through four tappings (to remove the liquid) and then chemo and radiation only to have her last few months feeling sick from the treatment.  This form of cancer was the worst from what they told us, and easily travels around in the blood system just to find a new location to grow.  My mind was spinning in those final moments, those moments where she cuddled into her daddy and those moments where her ears perked up as I said her name and that we loved her.  It was so unreal, and then just like that her body became still and heavy in her dad’s arms.

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It was at this point we both lost it, we lost Nyssa and there was a huge hole left in our heart.  We left the vet’s with her collar.  We came home, Aya her older sister seemed to look for her which was the hardest thing to see.  I couldn’t eat for a solid week and could not stop crying for close to a month.  It just seemed unfair for the universe to take her during the time we needed her the most.  And it was hard to accept that she was gone for all of us in the family.

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So how do you deal with the loss of a family member?

A lot of people have asked me this over the years.  Each person is a little bit different and each person takes a different amount of time to saying goodbye fully.  I started to realized that even though she was physically gone I knew I had all those great memories we shared.  I focused more on those memories instead of the “Oh we never got to…”  For myself I found it very helpful to have her ashes, as well as have a photographs placed on canvas.  Too often have I seen families lose a dog, then it almost seems as if that dog never existed.  If we have photos of family who have passed away why can we not do this for our k-9 family members.  Next to her picture we have her collar hanging up and her CGC medal on the other side.  I want to remember she was here and I want others to know she was here on this earth, and she did make a difference to my family and others.

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Other ways I have seen people deal with their passing is having a tree planted with a little name plate next to it.  This is a lovely way of remembering your dog as the tree grows.  Others I have seen make facebook pages for their dogs to share photos and memories.  Do not let anyone tell you or push you to “get over it, its just a dog”.  This person has no idea what you family member meant to you and it is clear that they have never had the connection you had with their dogs.  Like I said before it is ok to take time to deal with the loss.  The biggest thing you have to remember which took me a while to accept is that I did do the right thing for her.  I made sure she wasn’t suffering in the end.  Most of all if you are having such a hard time you can not function get help from your Doctor, it has been proven the humans bond with their dogs in the same way and level as they do with human children.  It is understandable if some suffer from depression just don’t stay alone in that dark place.

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Is it ok for me to get another dog?

Yes, it is ok.. for some it may take months, years, or even weeks once again it depends on the person.  Myself I waited until I felt some peace with what had happen.  It was also true with how quiet it was we felt we needed some new life in our home.  On top of that we knew Aya was becoming depressed being alone, matter of fact she went from a solid red color to whiting out on her face within a month of losing Nyssa.  We waited until we got the right feeling about a litter and did our research.  Once we brought her home we had a whole new set of challenges not just potty training and training in general.   We started to catch ourselves trying to compare our new family member to Nyssa.   Catch yourself ahead of time and understand this is a new life and soul.  There will be differences and there will be things that are the same but this is a new family member.  Remember that they are just starting out in life with a blank background and are learning from the beginning do not freak out or be disappointed because dog A used to be able to do this but our new dog B is not.  When you let go putting down your new puppy or dog this is when your relationship will start to grow and learning with take place for the both of you.  You are starting a new dance with a new partner in this life and you both got to support yourself.

Always remember your past family member would want you to be happy and that they will always be watching over you.

To read more about what has happened to Jennifer Please go to my Gofundme page:

http://www.gofundme.com/Jenniferwilliams

We love you Nyssa and we miss you.  You will always be part of our family!

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“Good Girl!”

Please help even a 1.00 goes a long way. If you can not donate please share! Nyssa’s Emergency surgery

Hello,

Nyssa is a English cream Golden.  She helps out her mother during dog training in aggression cases as well as a demo dog.  She also helps with educational sessions with young children.  Before her emergency she was learning how to work along side her mother during a massage session to help out clients who are in physical and mental pain.  Any amount would help out and even sharing would help as well.
For more information about Nyssa please go to her Gofundme page:

http://www.gofundme.com/jj490k

Once again thank you  and happy new years!

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Bullies come in all forms and all walks of life.

I’ve been called a fluffy, cookie pusher/treat dealer, briber, wimp, and the oddest of them all a hippie pot smoking trainer, among other terms, but those were the ones that stood out in my mind.  I have been told our methods (positive dog trainers) are CRAP right to my face (as well as had people laugh at me, and belittle me), or have people state my line of work is a wish wash of a method that only works if you have a treat in hand….I have been told that dogs forget our training methods after a short time and never remember the command. And also that our methods only works on certain dogs. I have been bullied around because I am a Positive Reinforcement trainer (Online and offline).  I have even had people try to claim I do not understand dog behavior due to the fact I use Positive Reinforcement, even though I have gone through school for it as well as working towards my PhD in animal behavior, not to mention years of hands-on experience.   Yet I for some reason do not know a thing because I decided to go with up to date science when it comes to dog behavior. But you know what? When it comes down to the truth, it’s about a lack of education for those who would call positive reinforcement any of the previously mentioned statements. But that can be remedied.

I would like to point out some quick facts/statements about Positive Reinforcement:

1: It DOES work with all dogs… if it did not work you are doing it wrong.  This even means aggressive, fearful, man eating dogs can be worked with and become a better member of society.

2: Dogs do NOT forget everything you train them with Positive Reinforcement.  There have been award winning dogs in competitions that are only trained with Positive Reinforcement.

3: No I do not need a treat every time I ask for a command.  Treats (could be a toy praise or yes even food) are weaned off from the dog over time and eventually the dog responds to the command without the treat.

4: When we compare dogs to humans we are not saying the dog is a human or should be treated as such.  We are referring to the fact that science has PROVEN dogs have the brain power of at least a child of 2-4 years of age.  We then ask owners/ trainers to ask themselves how do you educate a being with that kind of thought power and have the best results with no fallout issues. With dedication, that intelligence can get to that of an adolescent human.

5:  We are not telling owners to let their dogs walk all over them.  Positive Reinforcement doesn’t mean you be a push over.

6: Positive Reinforcement is working towards getting your dog to think on its own, to work out the issues and gain a reward for figuring it out.  Out in the wild dogs will avoid pain, and other harsh things that are used in pack theory/negative Reinforcement, but dogs will WORK HARDER and longer to gain something that increases something good such as a food reward… Think of it this way; you go to work to get paid so you can feed yourself, cloth yourself and so on. This same theory works for all dogs.

7:  There is a difference between a leader and a bully; a Leader shows and teaches a dog what to do, while a bully uses force and pain in many forms to get what they want.

8:  Your dog does NOT view you as another dog. Do you look like a dog? No, thus your dog will not be eyeing you as a “Pack leader”.  Dogs are also social groups, not pack groups. They have different learning styles and living styles than that of a wolf pack.  Your dog looks to you for guidance and to show them what behavior you want out of them. This is the leader they are eyeing you to be.

9:  Positive Reinforcement has been around for a while now, sadly there are some “celebrity” T.V trainers who are unable to get with the times and the science so they can spread the word worldwide of what truly is fact.  It is stated that it can take 10-20 years for newer theories to catch on with the general public, for that theory to be general knowledge.

10: Yes, science has backed us up and will keep on backing us up. Science is the mainstay of our modern world for finding out all the answers of the world and the lives in it, including behavior. There is no sense in denying it.

11: We are NOT saying negative training does not work (shock, prong, choke), it’s more so the execution of the method that matter’s most, as well as the outcome.  On the surface it works, but at what cost?  Health issues have been linked to these types of training methods as well as massive fall outs in behaviors leading to aggression, fearfulness and feelings of helplessness.   There is no real fall out if I miss a click with my dog clicker or miss a food treat, but giving a nice shock or “pop” will give a negative association to whatever you were trying to train the dog with in negative terms.  It is easier to retrain a behavior if a client or I messed up with positive methods rather than the opposite, where we could end up getting a dog that is willing to bite my face off for it.

12:  Have I been bitten? No, does that mean I must suck as a dog trainer?? NO, it means I do not push the dog over its limit when it comes to their flight or fight mode.  I have known trainers or even dog walkers to state they have gotten aggressive dogs to bloom and they have the “Bites” to prove it.  If they had updated their education they might have been able to get the same results if not better and without getting bitten.  Is there a chance I could get bit?  Yes, but most likely that will be because it was an off day and I was not paying attention to what the dog was trying to tell me.

13:  We understand your dog is a living breathing thing and as such you cannot find a quick cure/rout when it comes to educating your dog.  Yes, shock collar trainers can get your dog to stick around (though I have seen dogs run away from their owners … (wouldn’t you run away?)- But a lot of times when a shock collar trainer or owner removes the collar the dog couldn’t give a rat’s ass about the human, owner or otherwise.  However, with Positive Reinforcement we have dogs coming back to us because they want to.   Yes, we are able to train for snake avoidance and deer avoidance and that is not using slave like training methods.

14: Are our dogs perfect?  No, and nor are the negative trainers’ dogs… Once again they are living beings; they have their off days just like humans.  No human is perfect, but nor is any other dog. There will be those days where a behavior that needs changing keeps on happening, but then you just need to refresh the training of the behavior you want (and yes that happens with the negative training methods as well.. if you don’t use it you lose it).

As a trainer and as a human being I want people to know that yes we do keep up with the science that is WHY we are Positive Reinforcement trainers.  We believe the human race is or at least should be evolved enough to move pass using painful methods when there are OTHER methods out there in the world proven to work.  And most of all we are here because we care about animal behavior and want to encourage a healthy education for your dogs.  Positive Reinforcement does not mean passive.  We work hard and we get the results.

So please bullies, whether you are an owner or a negative trainer don’t waste your time on bullying me; go read a book that has updated education about dog training.  I don’t need to hear you yell or even type yell as you try to force your outdated methods down my throat.  This doesn’t mean you can bully the people who are trying to cross over, or has started off right away with Positive Reinforcement.  We are no less of a trainer because we may use clickers, toys, or some form of reward to initially mark a behavior we want.  And our results are no less than the results you are getting by kicking, hanging, popping, shocking, rolling and god knows what else you use in your “tool box”.  I am happy that Positive Reinforcement is getting more of the spot light and the more it does bullies/negative trainers will have to catch up with the times or be left out on the side lines.

The Dog Father–” The Perfect Dog” Or as I call it -The Perfect lie

No, do not worry I will not keep yacking or talking trash about other dog trainers though out this blog.  However, when I did see his ad on tv (ran close to 24 hours on one station), it was clear that there are a few things that need to be said.  While yes I understand to sell your items you may want to bash other ways of training there is however, a way to make your training look good without telling a lie.  Believe me, do not believe EVERYTHING you see on T.V, most of the time the people who are selling these items are just wanting to make a fast buck.  It amazes me how negative dog trainers are forceful in their adverting, while you have a better ways of training and the positive trainers aren’t in your face 24-7.

First of all the so-called “Dog Father” is working on out dated ways of teaching a dog, he is one of a few trainers who just really do not want to learn anything new.  To these trainers, scaring or hurting your dog to get the behavior you want quickly and fast is better than taking the time and doing it the right way.  But, let us forget and not mention the mental and physical damage you are causing your dog…

Dog Father: ” The Command Collar® is NOT an electronic collar, shock collar, or noise emitting collar. It is manually operated and it is simply designed to emulate a mother dog’s natural corrective process.”

FALSE

This is no longer true, it has even been proven in wolves in the wild.  The mother dog or the alpha dog does not bite down with ANY pressure on another dog’s neck.  What happens is a muzzle( or neck) touch, and when I mean touch it is lightly done, and the lower ranking dog rolls onto  his or her back on his or her OWN, without force (or quickly stops the behavior).  The other dog will also get up (if the pup is nipping hard) and walk away from the pup who is causing trouble.  Thus not rewarding the behavior with ANYTHING negative or positive.  They see the more aggressive version that he speaks of when its wolves trap in a zoo area, with little land and free range food for the pack.

Dog Father:” The Command Collar® is NOT an electronic collar, shock collar, or noise emitting collar.”

False:  While yes, it is not an electronic collar/shock (By the way same thing) or noise collar this collar is just ANOTHER version of a prong collar.  It causes pressure on the neck which can easily lead to neck issues, eye sight issues, back issues, as well as even causing blood clots and strokes.  Yes this has happened and does happen all the time.  Sadly while our dogs are trying to please us they can not stand up and state “hey this is hurting”…  Let us remember dogs are not our slaves and should not be treated as slaves… THEY are living breathing beings which means they have nerves, blood vessels and muscles that can be damage by these types of collars…  Lets put it this way… would you want  a school to start using prong collars on your kids??  “Well, little Billy was talking with a classmate so I gave a quick pull on his prong collar…he doesn’t speak anymore and don’t worry those buses will heal…”  Yeah, I didn’t think you would want to see schools doing this to human children, why should we be doing this to dogs.  Who by the way have been proven to at least have the metal status of a toddler.

Dog Father: “No more use of fatty treats, that do not train your dog to respect you!”

FALSE:  Reward based training… ok I have had many questions about this… A good positive reinforcement trainer will right off the bat tell you that treats are not ment to be used as a life long thing.  The treat size you should be giving your dog as a reward should only be the size of a pea.  No bigger, you can even go smaller as well if need be, and on top of that treats are shortly phased out of the dogs training( Let us not forget some dogs are not even food motivated, this leads to other rewards such as: Pets, toys, and even sometimes walks).  They are only there to first reinforce the behavior you want and are soon replaced with voice praised and rubs, or even a toss of a toy.  None of the dogs I have trained have gotten “Fat” and my own dogs are all very fit and lean.  Most of the time a reason why a dog is gaining a lot of weight is he or she is getting the wrong type of food for that time in their life.

I also didn’t know you had to cause pain and rough up any living being to earn his or her’s respect  I guess Ghandi really did a beat down with anyone who did not see eye to eye with him…

Even the vet association is speaking out and stating it is time to get away from the negative training , for the betterment for the dogs health, and treatment of the dogs.  Some countries are even banning these collars (prong,choke,shock and so on), myself I hope to see the USA to catch up with these other countries.  Many countries will even fine you thousands of dollars  if the collar is even found in your home.  Humans need to learn that not everything has to be instant. It’s important to put the work into making a better dog.  Why are humans so in need of causing pain to get what they want? It’s a sad fact, and I think we need to start looking at ourselves and what we are doing to another living being and ask why do we need to use painful methods even though there are better ones out there.

Dog Father: “Will even stop aggression!”

False:  This doesn’t stop it, but instead covers it up… which can lead to bigger issues down the road.  Your dog, when he or she is being aggressive,  gives you signs before the aggressioon occurs.  You start pulling on his or her neck using aggression you are just cause the dog to stop all the signs and will one day snap and this leads to the common saying “There was NO signs or warnings”. Yes…yes, there was however, you did not train yourself to see it and you just trained your dog to turn off his or her warning signs.  “Aggression against aggression is only going to cause more aggression.”   To put it in a picture we could all understand as humans:  a woman was beaten every day of her married life, one time her husband came home from a bad day and decide he would take it out on her.  This time however, the wife with her kitchen knife in hand killed her husband.”  Aggression was brought out in this woman who  might have easily been a mellow person, however was pushed her to the edge.

I have seen owners place prong, and shock collars on their dogs to “Stop them from growling or going after people or other dogs”.  I have then seen those dogs at the fence collar wise and growling soft enough so the collar does not go off, and some dogs didn’t even care about the highest setting.  After all they are now thinking the pain the collar is giving them is from the thing they are looking at… So its best to kill whatever, is causing that pain.

So before you throw on that easy collar of pain wether it be shock, prong, sound, spray think about this… Would you want this on you all day or when you go out of the house… Some say I test out the shock collar it doesn’t hurt me… Well, why don’t we up the shock to the point it would feel like what the dog would feel it meaning, the shock maybe low for humans however, for a dog it is very painful, if it wasn’t why wouldn’t they just keep on going…  Just think about it this way, do I want to be that type of person who is so lazy that I want the quick way out insted of putting the time and CARE into the dog who is a family member that I would put into a human child.  And if you are the type of person who says that he or she doesn’t have the time to put into the training, maybe its time to find the dog a new home, after all they aren’t just  a tv or a game- they are in fact a living being with feelings, and needs.

Websites you may want to read more about:

http://www.diamondsintheruff.com/shockcollars.html

Prong collar”They do not cause any harm” haha yeah sure… here is a light pull to med pull:

I have even seen dogs with black and blues all over their neck from these.  And by the way can you say mid evil much, I think as a whole the human race could do a little bit better than using something like this.

Till next time -Green Paw-

Next time on the Green Paw:

Clicker training.. wha?

The Wubba toy