SOLD OUT! Instabedience Demo August 11, 1-3pm Download Flyer Here  A New Way to Train Your Dog!  Call (707) 762-6111

doggie dude ranch & training center

BOARDING | TRAINING

Training Quick Links

Petaluma dog trainer: Personality is key

Camilla Gray-Nelson, owner of Dairydell Canine in Petaluma, works with Duke, 2, to train him in behavioral skills that his family wants him to have before they welcome their first newborn baby.
"In my life on the farm and later in my long dog-training career, I have worked with literally thousands of dogs. It is clear that each one is born with an inherent personality and temperament: bold or shy, friendly or suspicious, those that avoid aggression at almost all costs and others that place it at the top of their toolbox to get their way."

From the Petaluma Argus-Courier May 2024

All the hubbub reacting to South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem’s infamous confession that she shot and killed Cricket, her young wirehair pointer, because it was “aggressive” and “untrainable,” made me think how important it is to shed more light on the subject of animal behavior in general. To that end, I’d like to share some of my own observations as a dog trainer for over 30 years.

Like the Governor, I too grew up on a farm with all manner of animals. Noem may have assumed most people in the U.S. are as familiar with animal behavior as she is, though I’d say, in understatement, that she failed to read the room when she decided to feature the Cricket incident in her upcoming book.

Contrary to popular belief, “training” cannot change a hard-wired personality. It can only make the best of how Nature herself has stamped the individual.

In my life on the farm and later in my long dog-training career, I have worked with literally thousands of dogs. It is clear that each one is born with an inherent personality and temperament: bold or shy, friendly or suspicious, those that avoid aggression at almost all costs and others that place it at the top of their toolbox to get their way.

Contrary to popular belief, “training” cannot change a hard-wired personality. It can only make the best of how Nature herself has stamped the individual.

As I listen to the many news commentators aghast at the governor’s story and the resulting cries from the general public, what is painfully clear is that few people these days understand the true complexities of animal behavior. Most think “training” can cure all ills when it comes to dogs and that training should have been the obvious solution in Noem’s case.

Since aggression cannot be fully “trained away,” it means specific and careful management is necessary.

The hard fact is that a dog that bites is a dog that will bite again, given the right circumstance. Training may raise the threshold, but it cannot eliminate it. When this predilection shows up in a young developing dog under the age of 2, it is especially troubling since aggressive behavior usually takes more than two years to surface, and the younger it surfaces, the more serious the situation.

No matter the time in training, a dog with aggressive tendencies is and will always pose some degree of risk, whether it’s the safety of humans or the safety of other animals around them.

Since aggression cannot be fully “trained away,” it means specific and careful management is necessary. Then the question becomes whether the dog owner has the time, the energy, the will and the ability for the management that’s required. It can get complicated, and with no guarantee of long-term success.

All that said, luckily, serious aggression in today’s dogs is the exception rather than the rule. But when it does occur it simply calls for a comprehensive approach that combines training as well as risk management.

In short, it is so important for today’s dog owners especially to understand the difference between training and personality, and living with dogs in a way that respects dogs for the incredible creatures that they are.

Camilla Grey-Nelson is the founder and president of Dairydell Canine Training in Petaluma, and has trained, bred and shown dogs since 1989.

https://www.petaluma360.com/article/opinion/kristi-noem-dog-trainer-aggressive

Picture of Camilla Gray-Nelson

Camilla Gray-Nelson

Camilla has over 50 years experience with animals (she grew up on the farm!). She has trained, bred and shown dogs since 1989 and brings this broad background and knowledge of dog behavior to her clients and her business. Her life-long understanding of the animal mind helped her develop what has become her signature style of natural dog training and voice control, now simply referred to as the “Dairydell Method”. Camilla and her Dairydell Method have been featured in numerous newspaper and magazine articles, as well as on San Francisco TV’s Evening Magazine and View From the Bay. Camilla loves teaching – whether it’s dogs, their owners, or the horses you see her riding in Dairydell’s beautiful arena. When she’s not training, teaching or riding, Camilla is writing about her favorite subject: dogs and their people! Camilla holds professional memberships in both the National Association of Dog Obedience Instructors (NADOI) and the International Association of Canine Professionals (IACP).
Picture of Camilla Gray Nelson

Camilla Gray Nelson

Camilla has over 50 years experience with animals (she grew up on the farm!). She has trained, bred and shown dogs since 1989 and brings this broad background and knowledge of dog behavior to her clients and her business. Her life-long understanding of the animal mind helped her develop what has become her signature style of natural dog training and voice control, now simply referred to as the “Dairydell Method”.

Share this post

Have You Heard?... About Dairydell's

Board & Train Finishing School

Our Premier Live-In Training!

While You’re Home or Away…We train your dog in manners and obedience and teach YOU how to keep him perfect!

Dairydell Board & Train Testimonial Video Reviews

Play Video
Play Video
Play Video
Play Video

Leave a Comment

Monthly Maintenance Classes

For Board & Train Grads & Their Dogs

To better serve our Dream Dog™ Board & Train graduates, our monthly maintenance classes have had a Total Makeover! Now each month will have its own theme, and each class within that month will be geared for either on-leash OR off-leash grads and include Holiday preparedness exercises when appropriate. We will even be including special HOLIDAY training exercises for Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and 4th of July!

Online Video Account Login

Remember....

After logging in with this form, you will find your video orders in the My Videos section