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I've been living with Caucasian Ovcharkas as family members since 2006. In 2008 I got my first rescue, driving my vehicle to Northern Illinois and picking her up myself. She had serious food aggression, had bitten members of the family including a child and was scheduled to be euthanized. I paid all expenses. By then I had three Caucasians of my own and a litter of puppies. I rehabilitated her because I wanted to learn more about the breed and understand its behavior. My primary tool was an old tennis racquet acquired from a garage sale. It wasn't easy and the risk of being bitten was there and, as you may know, it isn't always easy to stand up confidently and confront large snarling dogs but I survived without a bite. The tennis racquet, however, didn't survive. After about two weeks she was able to join the pack. This also had complications and there were a few scuffles but no serious injuries. The main goal was to integrate her into the pack without resorting to separating dogs or using kennels nor just finding a new home with a 10' fence and sumo wrestler sized owner. My intention was to learn.

The most important part of the rehabilitation was long runs together with the pack every day. When questions still remained, I decided to attend National K-9 School for Dog Trainers Master Dog Trainer Course where I received my professional certification in Behavior Modification. After that, I found a suitable home, sending her only to the right owner that could match her energy and where she would live as a family member. As you probably know, if the owner can't match the rehabilitated dogs energy then it can easily revert to the former behavior. I drove her to her new home in South Carolina.

The same year I got a 9 month old puppy rescue that was one of my own puppies but I had not screened the buyer directly myself since that was done through someone else. I was reluctant to sell the puppy to the CEO that came to Oklahoma and told me he didn't agree with all `that dog whisperer stuff' but since payment had already been made he took his puppy. However, he brought the puppy back at 9 months claiming he just couldn't handle him. Full of emotion with tears in his eyes he handed the puppy back to me, leash chewed and tattered… This puppy needed very little rehabilitation, I did the evaluation myself, taking full responsibility, finding the new home within a couple months with a single mother and little girl where he remains to this day. The last news I heard was that they are very happy with him and that the pestiferous x-husband doesn't come around anymore.

The most serious case I have rehabilitated came from a breeder with over 20 year's experience. I got her as an older puppy and she had been isolated from her mother and littermates since she was especially special and true to type. She came to me extremely underweight and with serious aggression issues towards all things small - including children. This type of behavior I was told by the experienced breeder was due to her genetic make-up or personality; being especially `sharp'. But I had doubts about this. I now understand that there is much confusion among even the most seasoned of breed experts when it comes to dog behavior. To this day I've had four litters of puppies and none of my dogs have ever exhibited this kind of behavior. Therefore I believe that it has neither to do with genetics nor breed characteristics.

I've raised four litters of puppies, all raised in a home environment, watching and learning from my females. Most of what I know about dog behavior I learned from the dog school and from my pack of dogs. I've also learned about the responsibility involved in dealing with 100 lb + dogs and that if you're afraid to get bit then dog behavior/rehabilitation might not be for you. I did get bit a few times over the years while breaking up scuffles but none of my dogs have ever shown direct aggression toward me. I believe that this is something the mentally balanced Caucasian Ovcharka SIMPLY CAN'T DO. I have seven dogs today and the learning continues.

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