Where were all the Fearful Dog support groups when I was struggling with Isis? Did they not exist, or did I not understand until way too late that fear was the root of her problem? Social media was still young then, way back in 2008.
I’m part of two great Facebook communities where every day, people post questions and success stories about their fearful or reactive dogs. Truly, I am not alone.
UPDATE: During the WOOF Blog Hop, I was introduced to another Facebook group for Reactive Dogs.
I wrote a book about my experience with Isis, and am in the process of getting it published. This is probably against protocol, but I want to share some of the concerns editors had about the marketability of my book:
1) Readers will not be able to connect with the character of Isis the aggressive dog.
2) My book is not different enough from all the other dog books.
3) It is not a “feel-good” book: “Rather, I felt a lot of sadness and regret.”
I flat-out disagree with points 1 and 2, but point 3 gave me pause. It’s true! I feel sadness and regret, too! But is that any reason not to tell my story? Doesn’t the dog always die at the end? I gave the manuscript another read, searching for places where I might alleviate sadness and regret in my readers. I revised my proposal so that the chapter summaries don’t end on such a down note, and I wrote a little epilogue, describing life now with Mia.
A sad ending does not make it a sad book. We treasured every minute we spent with Isis, and she brought us joy beyond measure. If you asked her, Isis would tell you that her life was filled with an abundance of love and happiness. Writing (and reading) the book does make me “feel good.”
My true goal in writing this book, however, is to help others learn from our mistakes. To give hope to dog owners experiencing the same guilt and frustration that I felt while trying to train my “problem” dog. Bark and Lunge will raise awareness about the importance of socialization, the benefits of positive reinforcement, and the hazards of aversive training methods.
In the coming months, I will be giving away free copies of the book to readers willing to post an honest review to Amazon (and/or GoodReads or Barnes and Noble). Stay tuned!
Today is the inaugural WOOF Blog Hop. WOOF = Working Out Our Fears. Not just our dogs’ fears but our own fears of inadequacy and hopelessness that our dog will never get better. Fear that other people will think our dogs are mean.
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