I was just talking with a trainer friend of mine, who also has a reactive dog, about the benefit of having a reactive dog: it keeps you from adopting every dog in the universe!
If Bizz were open to having more canine friends, I probably would have introduced at least two new dogs to the family by now! I've applied for one and by a stroke of luck, the pit-mix was adopted out to a more suitable home (once in his new home, he developed severe phobias of the world around him - this would have been a HUGE undertaking for our whole family). Next, I found a stray that was too sweet and sociable to spend his life in a home with a dog that wouldn't like him. Luckily, he too was adopted out in just a week.
It makes me sad to think that I will have to follow a strict checklist to find a suitable dog for our situation but it also makes me appreciate the dogs that I have...
Sarah is so willing to coexist with a high-strung dog like Bizz - I just have to give thanks for that. Granted, Sarah's known Bizzle since she was a puppy, but she constantly forgives Bizz's shortcomings and excuses her inappropriate behavior time and again. Even after six years of being rejected, Sarah still play-bows to Bizzle every once in a while, which warms my heart to see.
Bizz is truly a wonderful dog, her only flaw being her acceptance of other dogs. She is bright and learns quickly, often faster than I can teach her. She is loving and really enjoys the company of her people. She's got a great sense of humor, always making me laugh with her silly antics. She's got the energy of a puppy when it calls for it but is also content with laying around the house like the giants of the canine world.
Above all else, I owe all that I have learned as a dog trainer to Bizzle. She taught me there are smarter ways to train your dog. She has taught me patience and it is because of her that I found my passion for teaching others how to have a stronger relationship with their dogs.
So, Bizz, you can stop being reactive now. I've learned my lesson. ;)
photo courtesy of Puppy A Go Go