1. Your expectation of what they could do was too high
"I paid thousands for this life-saving animal and they missed another one!"
- Really good DADS are about 85%+ accurate. They will miss and make mistakes. Thinking your child's life is in THEIR hands is your mistake, not your dogs'...
Article: What to expect when you're expecting...(A DAD)
2. You weren't ready for the work involved to keep up the skill
"All the work was done before I brought the dog home." or "That's why I'm getting a 'finished/mature' dog."
-Do you have kids? Did the work stop once they were out of diapers? It's the same. Consistency, follow-through, repeating behaviors. Practice, trial and error. They are your new "kid." Skills come over a lifetime.
Article: Your DAD is only as good as you are
3. Somewhere between how you got your dog (and you) there was a significant miscommunication
"I didn't know this would happen! I need to spend more money?!" or "What the heck am I supposed to do now? "This isn't working," or "This is scary, I may 'mess up' my dog!"
- Did you receive training, guidance, literature, etc? Take learning & research into your own hands?
Article: Top 10 Resources for DAD info
4. The dog doesn't have the drive
"But we had a professional pick our dog out." or "We had our dog evaluated for this work."
-Some of the top organizations wait a full year with scent training and/or give "started" dogs or scent imprinted pups out. BUT IT HAPPENS. Dogs don't work out. Their drive isn't one that matches your handling, environment, whatever the case- it HAS HAPPENED that a dog gets SWITCHED out. Do you have this kind of protocol/safety-net set up in your contract? ASK. What would the timeframe look like?
Article: DADs are Dogs, too!
5. You treat your DAD like a pet, not a working dog.
"Max is SO adorable! We just LOVE him!"
- Of course you do. How can you not? That's acceptance. It's natural! But this is not your average pet. In fact, this is not a pet at all. You want night alerts? Train for it, keep up the training, and stop letting MAX sleep on a down-pillow in your bed (especially if he's a tough sleeper.) Exhausting MAX with endless exercise will also lead to heavy-sleeping-syndrome issues... And don't under-estimate the power of PLAY-TIME. Like REAL actual DOG-time! (via latest Denver conference by Michele Pouliot-Read her BLOG HERE) LEARN LEARN LEARN! If you don't know, ask someone who won't think you're silly for asking. A trainer who knows this field. Search. Ask. That's why this blog is here; that's why FB groups LIKE THIS ONE are joined by, but not lead by, multiple organization heads and trainers.
(this paragraph contributed/edited by Rebekah Wright of Highland Springs)
editor's note: come on by This FB group on DAD advice where the discussion is hot on this topic!