My very first dog was a Doberman Pinscher called Cash. I was only a baby but he made such an impact on my dad that our first dog in Canada was another Doberman, also named Cash.
This Cash came to us, not as a 5 year old adult like his namesake, but as a spunky crazy puppy. I loved playing with this dog. He ran amuck when we had BBQs at our house, always trying to get food and always trying to play.
I’m not sure how long Cash stayed with us. He started nipping. Everyone, but me. I was the oldest, maybe 11 or 12. At that time, I knew nothing about dogs, except that I loved them. We all did, except my mom who wasn’t too thrilled.
I didn’t know about training. I didn’t know about teething. I didn’t know about normal dog behaviour. We didn’t have friends with dogs. There was no internet. I actually didn’t think to research it. We left all that with my dad, who became overwhelmed. I think he was expecting Cash 1. Even though he also had dogs growing up, they were always adult dogs, none of this crazy puppy business. And I think they were all his dad or grandfather’s dogs so he only played with them.
Cash, meanwhile, was getting bigger, and because we didn’t do any training, he didn’t know the rules of acceptable behaviour. He didn’t know he couldn’t communicate with nipping and biting. That’s what he always did but he didn’t realize he was no longer a small puppy with puppy bites. In the end, our parents gave him to our gardener who had a Doberman, thinking that he must know a thing or two about dogs, or at least about this breed.
I was sad to lose Cash. He didn’t nip me. He nipped other people, not that it was okay. Knowing what I know today, I know we didn’t try hard enough. We failed Cash. Why we didn’t think to get a trainer I don’t know. Maybe we did and I just don’t remember. Afterall, I was pretty young and knew nothing about dogs. So we can love dogs but just don’t understand them. This ignorance only hurts our relationship with our dogs and in most cases, the dogs themselves and indirectly, ourselves. With each dog, I would learn different lessons and more about myself and life itself.