Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Train that dog!

2009 brought a lot of things my way . . . I got to see what being a mom is all about, and I continue down that path with glee . . . but I also get to see how dogs can take a back seat. With a new baby in the house my four dogs took a back seat to what they were used to. This would be the life that most of my clients live. I was so used to my dogs being my kids and I revolved a lot around them. This isn't realistic for many dog owners. If you are able to spend more time with your dog then praise hallelujah, that's marvelous!

Whichever life may be yours there should still be some room left to train the dog. After raising a horrible Beagle (he was truly a nightmare of a dog!) in college and deciding I had to learn more about dog behavior I slowly realized that dogs should be like kids--training should be required for dogs like school is required for kids.

There is a much larger emphasis on dog training since the televised versions of training have emerged. This in part is good and in part bad in the sense that no matter what legal is on the TV people will still "self-medicate" from what they see. Nothing takes the place of a professional in your life to coach you. And anyone who works in radio and TV can tell you that editing is what makes most of the shows we watch entertaining--reality or otherwise.

I also recommend asking a professional dog trainer for advice, not a veterinarian. While vets are wonderful people they don't normally have any training in dog behavior and/or training unless they did that on their own. So it's best to ask where they got their dog behavior training before taking their advice. I too often hear some very poor advice from vets and while they mean well it's not advice I'd give. Also, because they are a veterinarian many dog owners often feel that they are the end-all-be-all for anything dog-related. Just keep in mind that vets went to school for medical training, not dog training. There are some vets that do seek dog training education, or even become Animal Behaviorists, so ask your vet if this applies to their credentials!

Did you know that 2 common factors are almost always true for dogs that have aggression issues?--They don't walk well on-leash and they don't come when called. I'm talking about in 99% of all situations, not in your living room or a pet store training class!

Did you know that if you have a dog that walks well on-leash and comes when called you can almost be sure that everything else will fall into place? If you can get these two commands to be reliable almost all other commands will be a breeze to teach your dog.

Did you know that you don't need hours to train your dog? We show you how to use training as part of your daily routine. You don't need to take out a portion of time during the day to just sit and train. You train your dog everytime you talk to it, touch it or look at it, even if you don't know it! So make sure you are doing it to benefit you and Fido! Make them sit while you wash dishes. Make them sit at the back door before you let them out. Leave a box of Milk Bones on the front porch and have all entering guests offer one if your dog sits when they enter. Make your dog sit to be fed . . . these are just a few common things, the list could go on.

Did you know that a group class of any kind can benefit both you and your dog greatly? We recommend tackling things in your home first and then joining a group class after things are under control there.

Did you know that January is National Train Your Dog Month! Get on it. We offer just about anything and everything for your dog, puppy and family members!

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