Confused by so many dog training methods?
I am sure you are not alone. A wide-divide exists between schools of thought on how to treat our best friends. Not going into unpractical arguments, I offer you my take on a common sense look at training.
And guess what? It all comes down to you.
- What do you want your dog to do?
- And what do you want your dog NOT to do?
But simple ideas are not always easy to carry out. And whether this is your first dog or your tenth dog, dogs, like people, behave as unique individuals. Ethical breeders work to produce dogs of sound health and good personalities. Just read Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World’s Worst Dog by John Grogan and you will not only laugh at a purebred gone wrong, but feel a bit sorry for Marley’s people.
We want to be happy. We want our dogs to be happy. And most of us, want our dogs fit for company. We want our dogs to get along well with others. We want dogs to make our lives better, not a Marley nightmare. A dog that loves us to pieces, yet does not stop eating plastic toys and knocking over all who enter our homes, adds stress to our days.
A well-socialized dog adds to your happiness whether he’s a mutt, a purebred or a lovable rescue. Most of us want our dogs to live long and healthy lives. A very simple way to save your dog’s life is to teach him or her to “Wait.”
I learned this command and behavioral strategy from Charlie Reinhart at Unleashed in Petaluma. “Wait” can stop your dog from running out the door. A dog that knows how to “Wait” can be stopped in mid-dash from eating something that might make him ill. And a dog that knows, “Wait” will stop when you call, before he runs out of your car into traffic.
Doing what comes naturally for dogs can be highly dangerous. Chasing moving animals is a natural behavior. But you might not want your dog to chase your cat, or your neighbors’.
Some dog trainers like to teach a dog to drop into an instant “Sit.” They use “Sit” like I use “Wait.”
- Never mind what word you choose, teach your dog to be safe.
- Choose the behaviors you want your dog to do.
Doing what comes naturally for dogs can be highly dangerous.
Common sense saves dogs. Dogs benefit from learning what you want them to do. They gain confidence when you socialize them into your family.
Making friends comes naturally to some dogs. But not all dogs possess a calm, gentle greeting style. Not all dogs have the talent to make a new friend without being pushy. This came as a surprise to me when my dog, Sydney, had to learn to play fair with other little dogs.
So find out what you want your dog to do, and encourage him.
And of course, figure out ways to discourage behaviors you don’t want. I think the following video gives a clear introduction how to help a dog become a happy member of your family.