Training A Dog: It Takes Time

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Teddy and Kate's Story

Instagram @katekalafat

Traveling with Teddy has been a dream come true. It’s hard to talk about him or tell a story without being all preachy-pitbull-advocate-mom but I will say that I think every single girl should have one.  You’re never scared, cold, or alone, and really what else could you need? July of last year I said screw it all and decided that Teddy and I deserved to live our best lives and that adventure was calling. We packed up the car, left the city and headed west. We earned it.

When he came to me Teddy was a 9-month old, extremely fearful and “reactive” 98 lb. English Mastiff/Pitbull “puppy”. Puppy is in quotes here because I think over 80 lbs they should be called something else, and reactive is in quotes because it’s the really nice way of saying that he would pretty much attack any animal in sight. Right for the throat. He would go nowhere near new people (myself included at first), and was especially fearful of men. I knew he would be a challenge, but I also knew that he was special, and that there was no way, if put into a shelter, that he’d ever make it back out. So I figured we were each other’s best shot.

It. Takes. Time. I can’t stress that enough. So much work, so much patience, on both our parts. Some literal blood, sweat, and tears. I can’t tell you the number of times I lost my temper and it was actually him that sat calmly and quietly, who was the patient one, never held a grudge, and was always ready and willing to forgive me, move on and keep trying. It also though, is hard to describe the pride or satisfaction of seeing your dog romping around in full play with another dog when you thought it might never be safe or possible, or watching him work on catching himself before he reacts, watching how hard he works to be good and to do the right thing even when it’s hard or scary for him. The work is constant and will never be done. We can never forget where we’ve come from or get complacent because trauma or lack of proper socializing and the issues those cause never really go away. With enough determination and hard work though, they can be managed. That’s the goal and it’s important to remember it. The goal isn’t perfection, whatever that even is. We are both goofy, we have our issues and our baggage, and are full of personality. The goal is management, to be continuously working through our challenges and to keep growing and getting better. Our issues aren’t unalike, his and mine, and between the two of us we have made huge strides. It’s taken a village— family, friends (and some incredibly patient and forgiving pets of theirs) and some of the best professional trainers I was persistent enough to find.

I’m very proud to say Teddy hasn’t just survived it all, but is a thriving, healthy, happy, confident 5 year old boy (now about 145 lbs), and is the snuggliest, most physically affectionate creature I have ever met.  He’s traveling the world, making all kinds of friends, has gone swimming in the ocean, running through the desert, climbed mountains and we’re not slowing down yet.  It feels like we’ve lived a few lifetimes since I brought him home (moves, boyfriends, break-ups, lifestyle flip-flops etc.), and he has been not only one of the few constant things in my life ever but is both my emotional and physical bodyguard and I wouldn’t trade him for anything in the world.

So ladies, my advice, adopt a Pitbull.  Adopt a Pitbull, and train them properly.  They never ever stop making it worth it.


  • Viajes! Stupid smart phone…

    Your mama
  • So proud and in love with you both!
    Bien Viejas!

    Your mama
  • you’re the best mom!


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