Everyone wants a ‘perfect’ dog but how do you get one?
Dog obedience training takes time, patience and practise and not everyone who wants a dog understands how much work is required to get that perfect dog.
To begin with, you should do your homework and shop around to find the right dog for you and your family. Do you want a large dog or a small dog? Would you prefer a non-shedding breed? How much time do you have to spend with your dog and are you aware of the costs associated with owning a dog? Do you have young children as well as adults in your family? These are all questions you need to ask before you adopt a dog.
If you have children as well as adults in your family, it will be important to determine who will be in charge of feeding and walking your new pet. While these duties can be shared, make sure that everyone understands that dog ownership is an important responsibility and that feeding and walking your dog the same way will help to provide a consistent environment.
Once your dog has settled into his new surroundings, the next thing on your list should be to get your dog enrolled in an obedience class. Obedience training can help you to learn to control your dog in a number of different situations and, since obedience trainers can have different philosophies and training methods, you should speak to a few trainers to find one that you are comfortable with.
After you start training, you should make every effort to attend all of the classes and practise any routines or commands you are given as homework each week. Other family members should also attend classes with you so you are all doing the same thing. As I mentioned earlier, it is important that everyone be consistent or you dog will be confused.
Any younger children (between 5 and 10 years) can also be involved and feel as if they are contributing to your dog’s training. For example, your child can measure and fill up your dog’s food bowl and place it on the floor while you give your dog the sit/stay command. Then you can give a release command to allow your dog to eat. This routine will teach your dog patience and to wait for your command.
When you take your dog for walks, take another family member with you. One person can walk your dog for the first half of your walk and the second person for the remainder of your walk. This way they can help each other if they forget part of a routine they learned in class. At this stage of your dog’s training, younger children should not be allowed to walk your dog on their own in case a situation arises that they are not prepared to handle.
When you have completed your basic obedience class, you should continue training every day by practicing the commands you have learned. This will help to reinforce the commands you have learned so far. Then, when you feel your dog is ready, take the next level of obedience training to challenge your dog and your family even more. The more you practise, the better your dog will be and the more places you can take him. Remember, a dog is only as good as his handler.