Wild Dog Becomes A Teacher

We lost our Rudy on 3/20/15 at the age of 14 years 7 months. I wanted to share his story with an article that I wrote in 2010 for NOVA Dog magazine.

As a dog trainer, Rudy was one of my very most challenging clients. I met this beautiful yellow lab when he was only 3 months old and he’s quite a success story. Rudy’s first family was very nice but they had an extremely busy household which left little time for dog training. They found Rudy to be a difficult pup and we all know that young dogs can try our patience at times.

Rudy was on his way to the animal shelter when my husband, Gene, and I had therudy and his favorite toy opportunity to adopt him. Poor Rudy was one year old and had absolutely no house manners. We brought him home and he tore dollies off of the tables and knocked over lamps as he leaped over the furniture. He was a true “Marley” dog! All Gene could say was “Are you sure you want this dog!”  I fell in love with him when he was a cute little puppy so of course he was in our home to stay. There was also a bit of pride because after all, I was a dog trainer.

On the 2nd day of having Rudy in the family he laid me out in the back yard. I picked up a ball and he charged me from behind. Before I could do anything I was flat on my back with what was certainly to be a dislocated knee. Fortunately for me and also for Rudy, it was just badly bruised. Once again Gene asks “Are you sure you want this dog?”

He was so wild that we could barely get close to him. Rudy was not aggressive but just so uncontrollably excited to have any attention. I worked with my training mentor, Nick Kutsukos, and finally after close to a year Gene stopped asking me his almost daily question. Yes, I did want this dog and I had faith that he would eventually be our wonderful companion.

In an effort to help with Rudy’s socialization, many dogs were invited to our home to play. During that time I took a ton of pictures so Rudy and I decided to write a children’s book and we called it “Rudy’s Friends. The story shows Rudy playing with a great variety of dogs and talks about how wonderful it is to have friends who are different. Rudy didn’t care about the size, shape or color of his buddies. He just appreciated their friendship.

This little book was the inspiration for the name of my training company, Rudy’s Dogs and Kids 2Friends Dog Training, Inc. With Rudy’s guidance I also wrote “Be Safe With Rudy And His Friends” which teaches children the rules so they can have fun with dogs. Now Rudy enjoys going to schools and scout groups as we help children to understand the appropriate ways to handle various dog situations. After all, they have feelings too and yes, now Gene and I both love this dog!

Our boy will be sadly missed but we know he’s having fun now playing with Cooper, his brother, and his dear friends: Barkley, a labradoodle, Dingo, an aussie, and Buddy & Nellie, his favorite cockers.

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