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December 2023 - "A year in review" of Buddy's Progress

Dog Behavior Tip - This rundown of Buddy's progress at the end of 3 years of hard rehabilitation work will help to demonstrate why it is SO IMPORTANT to make sure you use proper handling and training methods on your dog in the First Place!

This is a reprint from the December 2023 newsletter.

Since it is the end of the year, I though I would give a "year in review" for Buddy's progress.

Lots of progress in 2023. Here is a run down:


Buddy has learned to be comfortable with me doing the following (all things he previously would not allow):

  • clip his fur on certain parts of his body for very short durations of time.

  • touch the nail clippers to his nails (but not clip them)

  • he uses the scratch board for his front feet

  • a few swipes in each ear with a Q-tip

  • being "brushed" with the grooming rake

  • Dry him with a towel when he gets wet in the rain

  • lift his lips to look at his teeth

  • check and clean his eyes

  • Touch almost all of his body parts

Many of these activities still need to be performed during short structured rehab sessions using food rewards.

Buddy has become mostly comfortable with his "best bud" Abbey being in the house, looking at him, and talking to him, thanks to all her hard work helping to desensitize him to these things. We still have lots of work to do so he will be comfortable with her standing up, walking around, entering and exiting, etc., but this is a work in progress and it will just take time. LOTS and LOTS of time. And that is just to get him comfortable with Abbey, we still need other people to volunteer to participate in Buddy's rehab exercises so he can get comfortable with more than just one person. Please consider volunteering; I guarantee you will learn more than you realize!

Because of Abbey's hard work, Buddy has been able to tolerate (although he is not yet comfortable with) having the Culligan men and Shuee's Appliance in my house to do maintenance on, and deliver household appliances (while he is in another room). This was huge because for 3 years I could not have anyone in the house at all. So Thank you Abbey! and Thank you to Culligan and Shuee's for all their patience, and for willingly and patiently following my strict instructions during their visits! You guys are superstars in my book!

Now lets talk costs:

I give you this information not to complain, but to make everyone aware of how important it is to PREVENT behavior issues in the first place. Once a dog gets to the point of being aggressive, it can be VERY EXPENSIVE to deal with the issue.

By the end of 2023 Total costs for Buddy's care and rehabilitation will be just shy of $17,500. This total is for the 3 years I have been working with Buddy. It does not include any costs for my time, which I provide for free. [Just so you can get an idea of what that cost might be, $500/week is on the LOW end of what someone might charge to do what I am doing. Think about it, if you had to dedicate ALL your time to rehabilitating this dog, would you charge only $500/week? You'd probably value your time at much higher than that, especially if you were dealing with a dog that has a level 4 bite history. But lets go with $500 just to give you an idea of how expensive this is. Multiply that by 52 weeks per year for 3 years and it would come to $78,000 just for the cost of the rehabilitators time - and that is on the LOW end]

But let's go back to my out of pocket cost for Buddy's rehab of $17,500; Here's the breakdown:

49% is veterinary costs (this includes all costs for all 3 of his vets)

28% is for his medications and some of his supplements

23% is for the remainder of his supplements, supplies, and the special food he needs to eat.

So bear this in mind when you are training your dogs. Make sure you are only using positive reinforcement/reward based training methods so you don't end up with a dog that you end up having to rehabilitate. It takes alot more time and money to undo the damage than it takes to train your dog right in the first place. Check out our Dog Training Help & Info page to access some great training resources.

And if you are in the situation where your dog needs to be rehabilitated, always remember, in behavior rehab,

Slow and Steady wins the race!


To help you avoid creating a dog with behavior issues:

I want to share with you a fantastic online resource for puppy/dog training — Many of the educational courses are completely free, so please check out Guide to Getting a Dog, the Behavior Problems Crash Course and Quick Tips & Free Downloads where you'll be able to download Dr. Dunbar’s two free eBooks – BEFORE You Get Your Puppy and AFTER You Get Your Puppy, as well as many other wonderful resources, all completely free.

Should you want more in-depth information, the Top Dog Academy subscription is the BEST deal in dog training education, comprising hundreds of hours of videos and podcasts, four eBooks and many downloadable resources that provide detailed instructions for preventing or resolving most common behavior problems and for training puppies and adolescent/adult dogs, so that your dog engages, pays attention and listens to you, even when off-leash, at a distance and distracted.

The Top Dog Academy is an unbeatable value at just $20.00 a month, but I have EVEN BETTER NEWS for you! If you use this link:

you can try it out for the first month for FREE! (it will automatically renew at the regular price of $20 USD a month when the trial ends, but you can cancel at that point if you like). There’s a 30-day money-back guarantee and you may easily cancel your subscription at any time. Since it's FREE for the first month, why not give it a try! You can always cancel it before the renewal and at least you will have gained a month of great information to help you train your dog!

Please share this information with your family and friends so they too can become their dogs trainer! This is also a GREAT gift idea for anyone on your gift list who has a dog!

If you would like to support Buddy's Dream and our mission:

You can feel good knowing that every cent of your purchase goes directly to pay Buddy's rehabilitation expenses.

If you don't want to make a purchase but still would like to help, you can make a donation here. Any amount helps!

Note and disclaimer: All information in the blog posts on this site is my opinion based on my own experience rehabilitating an aggressive dog. I am not a professional behaviorist or otherwise involved in the Veterinary profession. If you are dealing with an aggressive dog, I recommend you seek the advice of a Board Certified Veterinary Behaviorist.

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