It still amazes me how many people never take their dogs to at least one obedience class. Why wouldn’t you want a dog that was well trained and a good listener? I think that too many people think that they can handle all of the obedience training on their own, and don’t want to take the time or money to attend a structured class. Many times these owners end up yelling a great deal at their puppies to get them to do what they want, or stop doing a destructive behavior.
Let me tell you a little about what you should get out of your obedience training with your dog.
- Help to establish the pet/master relationship
- Raises the safety level for your dog and those around him
- Teaches your dog right from wrong
- Shows your dog the rules, how to follow them, and the rewards that they will receive for doing a good job
- Lays the foundation for leash training, barking control, biting management, and the other training techniques that we have discussed.
- Obedience training can be a fun experience for you and your dog to share. Just as you might take a young child to a play gym, this is a time where you can share a doggie class with your new pup.
- Your dog will begin to gain confidence as he learns more commands and good behavior.
Here are the most common commands that your dog will learn in training:
- Leave it
Now that you know some of the benefits of dog obedience, I’d like to spend a little time on the risks of not training your dog. I feel that the main risk comes from a safety standpoint. No matter how cute your dog may seem, you must remember that it is still an animal. You must teach your dog from an early age 1) who is master and 2) proper behavior.
Did you know that the number one reason for dogs ending up in animal shelters are that their owners found them too much to handle? Untrained dogs are extremely difficult to manage.
Try to picture your “untrained” dog as an unruly teenager; now picture leaving for a night out. Chances are your mind starts to wander wondering what mischief they might begetting into at home. You may begin cutting your time out short to get back to the dog to see what they destroyed this time.
An untrained dog also causes unhappy neighbors. If your dog has a barking problem, you will not be the favorite family on the block. If your dog bites or jumps too much, your children might not have many friends come over for play dates because their parents fear for their own children’s safety.
Your house may also become an arena for yelling. This is not a pleasant environment for you of for your dog to live in. “NO SPOT,” “STOP SPOT,” ” NO NO NO.”
Tips to Make Training Successful
- Reward your dog when he follows a command
- Correct your dog when he does not do what he was been taught
- Make sure to repeat the commands several times so your dog learns them
- Ensure that you and the other dog caregivers use the same command words and actions
- Continue to show your dog right from wrong
- Never punish your dog, just continue to correct
- Keep your training sessions short, as dogs don’t have a long attention span
- Master one command before moving to the next one. Then continue to reinforce the mastered commands as your dog learns more commands.
- Make sure that the person who spends the most time with your dog is present at the training sessions
- Learn what motivates your dog to be on his best behavior. This might be a belly rub, a favorite toy, or a special treat
This is all stuff that you should now know, and should have been doing for at least a couple of months now that you’ve been involved in our online training, but if you haven’t been doing it actively, it might be time to seek some outside help before things get out of hand.
Check your local pet stores for obedience classes or recommendations. Also, ask friends and neighbors who have been through the classes themselves with their own dogs. You are going to want to look for a class that uses human training methods. You might be surprised that some classes actually promote violence as a way to train your dog. Look for a trainer who promotes rewarding your dog, as opposed to intimidation and hitting.
You will also want to make sure that it is an accredited school with good credentials. Finding an experienced trainer will also give you and your dog a leg up. Try to meet the trainer before you sign up for the class. You want to find someone who has a natural affection towards dogs, and not just someone punching their time card. Many dog school will allow you to come and observe an actual class before making your decision. Don’t be afraid to ask questions (at an appropriate time after the demo or observation class).
It may take visiting or calling a few locations, but you will find one that suits the needs of you and your dog if you know what you are looking for going in.
More To Follow!!
image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/airwaves1/3225988694/