ARE YOU A RESPONSIBLE DOG OWNER?
Owning a dog means you are responsible for the feeding, care and control of your furry friend. No one likes to go for a walk and find someone has left their dog’s “business” without picking it up. Similarly, dogs that bark uncontrollably or jump up on people can also be annoying, even to the most seasoned dog owner. Can these types of problems be solved? Yes, they can. A little planning and commitment on your part can go a long way to alleviate these issues. When you take your dog for a walk, be sure to always have doggy bags with you. Barking, jumping up and pulling are issues that can be addressed with obedience training.
From the day you bring a dog into your home, either as a puppy or an older dog, they are looking for leadership. If you don’t provide that leadership, they will automatically assume that they are “in charge”. It is important to pay attention to your dog’s behaviour on a daily basis and react consistently when they misbehave. You need to be firm when they challenge your authority but, at the same time, you should never hit or yell at your dog. It is also very important to spend time working with your dog because the more time and effort you put into your dog’s training, the better they will be. If you want your dog to listen to you, you need to be your dog’s best friend. So instead of going to the dog park, take your dog on a long walk and practice your obedience commands. This provides your dog with mental as well as physical exercise to keep them challenged. While food (treats) is a great motivator, it should not be the only way you encourage your dog to behave. Toys work well too. Remember, the behaviour should produce the treat, not the treat produce the behaviour.
When looking for a dog trainer, cost shouldn’t be your only consideration. Experience and training is very important. Contact a few trainers in your area and ask questions such as:
How long have they been training and have they trained your breed of dog before?
What is their training method?
“Positive Reinforcement” training uses treats to encourage wanted behaviour while “Balanced Training” methods correct a dog for unwanted behaviour and reward a dog for wanted behaviour and this sometimes includes the use of treats. This teaches the dog that there is a consequence for unwanted behaviour.
Where did they receive their training?
While courses in animal behaviour are useful, apprenticeships with an experienced trainer for hands-on experience is especially important.
Ask for references and if you can observe one of their classes before registering with them for training. This will help with your final decision.
Dog training isn’t rocket science, it’s very logical. If you learn to communicate with your dog in a logical and consistent manner, your dog will eventually learn to listen and respect you. The more control you have of your dog, the more freedom you can give them because you know how he will behave in any given situation.