As humans, it is in our nature not to ask for help because it shows weakness or in our minds we think that we know how to do everything. This was my exact mentality when I adopted Tate, a redbone coonhound.

Before I adopted him, I read up on this breed to find out what their temperament was like, any known health issues, what they were bred to do and how easily they were to be trained. After reading, “Coonhounds are wonderfully intelligent dogs that are generally quite eager to  please. However, coonhounds do have a reputation of being difficult to train” (ehow.com), I thought to myself, “Pfft, this can’t be anymore difficult than the training I did with my family pet over 15 years ago.” Plus the only thing I saw in that sentence was, “wonderfully intelligent dogs” and “eager to please.”

Excited to have adopted this beautiful dog (who was skin and bones when we got him), he was adjusting fine in our home after only a few days. Tate would try to give the kitties kisses, chase them but they were not having it and we thought this was the cutest thing ever. Until, Tate started packing on the pounds, his strength was starting to show and he began ruling the house. The cats were pissed at him, at me, at my boyfriend and Tate was not listening to me.

After work everyday,  we would do some training in the backyard, unleashed and with no success. My frustration was increasing, I was irritated with Tate and I felt defeated. Worst part of all of it, I had now become fearful that with Tate’s prey drive that he would do something to one of my cats if they or I weren’t paying attention and I was contemplating giving him back because I had swallowed more than I could chew.

Instead of giving up, I started researching for places to take Tate to get some training, specifically for redbone coonhounds. Nothing. I found other private training places, inquired to get more information, nobody was contacting me back. The last thing I wanted to do was go to Petco for training because when Tate gets around other dogs, he’s just like a tornado. EVERYWHERE and uncontrollable.

Then I turned to Erin Morse and with desperation in my voice, “Do you know anyone that does dog training?” and she gave me Melissa French, Your Pack Leader’s phone number. I called Melissa and when she asked me what kind of dog I had, I told her a redbone coonhound. She said, “oooooohhh a coonhound.” Melissa’s tone after I said redbone coonhound made me believe that I was defeated and she couldn’t help me, once again.  Then, she quickly followed that up with, “not a problem. What you’ll need to do….”

Melissa was at my house the next day and for the first time since I brought Tate home, after one training class, he was a new dog.

We didn’t do just one training, we did 6 classes, at my house, and it was one on one so we could keep Tate focused. Melissa was my life saver. Not only did Melissa train Tate but she trained me on how to be a better pet owner.

Since getting involved in rescue within the last year, one thing I’ve learned is that often times people get a puppy or a dog and don’t realize the responsibility that comes with owning one. They get frustrated, like I did, and think that the only solution is to bring the dog back to where they found it or bought it. Or worse yet, they bring it to a high kill shelter where they may or may not get a second chance or drop it off on the side of the road hoping someone picks up their terrified, hungry, dog that they didn’t want.

Tate was my first dog after having a family dog and he was definitely a challenge for me (and probably not the best option for a real first time dog owner). Investing in training has been one of the best investments I have ever made. Tate is my baby boy, follows me around everywhere and as of recent, has shown me that he trusts me more than he did when we first brought him home.

If you  or if you know someone who is having the same issues, the dog is  not listening, showing signs of aggression, won’t go into its crate, just got a new baby, whatever the case may be, please find a trainer because it will be the best thing you do for yourself.

I highly recommend Melissa French, Your Pack Leader, and you can reach her at 816-935-6832. Tate recommends and loves Melissa, too.