There is nothing more frustrating and embarrassing than to be the owner of “that dog” at the park. The dog that either jumped over everyone, refused to come back when called, mounted other dogs, started a fight or the crotch sniffer. The dog park is supposed to be the play gym of the dog world but with so many different breeds of dog and temperaments, it can be a stressful experience for your dog and for you. Any problem behaviours in your dog can cause a lot of angst and stress, which is why dog training is so important.
A dog that is unable to be walked without trying to attack other dogs eventually never leaves the yard. The dog that continually barks, leads to irate neighbours and letters from the council. A dog that jumps or bites can lead to legal action against you. The dog that chews up valuable objects can lead to a very irate family and possibly large vet bills. Your dog may listen to only one member of the family and misbehave and ignore everyone else.
Dog training is available in many different forms:
Puppy Obedience Training or puppy preschool is normally available at your veterinary clinic and starts when puppies are usually around 12 weeks of age. These classes are invaluable as your puppy learns to socialize with other dogs and where you can learn the basic commands – sit, stay, wait. The veterinary nurse will teach you basic pet care and health care.
Dog training courses are in a group setting and usually start when your dog is 6 months of age . Again these classes are fantastic for socialization provided your dog is confident. Dogs that are very nervous or a small dog in a group of large dogs can find this setting overwhelming. Sometimes your dog may be very excited and it can be a challenge to get it to listen to your commands. Find a group that has similar size dogs and a trainer that you are comfortable with and who is willing to help you if you are having difficulties. Remember these classes are for your dog but also to teach you as well.
Individual time with a dog trainer – some dogs and owners respond better to an individual trainer. Whether your dog is nervous or very dominant or just won’t listen to you. Sometimes your dog may be sent away to be trained. This is acceptable providing that you know how to continue the training at home and have learnt how to command your dog. Otherwise you will have a dog that behaves very well for the trainer and totally ignores you. Ensure that you receive training as well.
Dog training manual – these can be used in conjunction with the above trainings or instead of. The advantages of a dog training manual is that you have access to it any time of the day. What you were taught may have been easy in the class but as soon as you get home and try again, you don’t get the same response. Either you missed a step, are not communicating as well or forgot what to do. Videos are a great addition to any dog training manual as you can watch exactly how the training is being performed.
The main key to any dog training is consistency. Dog are very intelligent animals. Some love the attention and will do anything for you and some will get away with whatever they can, running you ragged! Every day, ensure you are training your dog. This can be as simple as making it sit for it’s dinner, stay while you go outside and listening to your commands while you are out on your walk. It only takes a few minutes every day but you will be rewarded with a well behaved dog that is pleasant to own (and maybe have a few jealous neighbours!).