Category Archives: Training A Dog

Puppy Help – You Have To Train Them When They’re Small

puppiesOne big thing my boss realized waaaay too late is that the earlier you train a dog, the better.

This is especially true of a dog who will grow to be a “big” dog, like me.   It’s much easier to teach a 15 pound puppy how to walk on a leash, not to jump, etc. than it is to teach a 50 pound dog.

Imagine for a moment walking with a 10 pound dog who is pulling on the leash.   They don’t know how to walk on a leash yet so they will probably pull (and need to be corrected) a lot.  They will pull on the leash frequently, but they only weigh 10 pounds so they won’t pull very hard.

Now imagine the strength of a 50 pound dog.   If you haven’t trained the dog by then, you’re risking the health of your shoulder.   At this point they are bigger, more strong willed and a lot stronger.

Isn’t it worth a little extra effort when they are a puppy to save your shoulder later?

The same thing applies to dogs jumping.   While a 10 pound dog jumping on your knee isn’t that annoying, if you don’t train them they will turn into a 50 pound dog jumping on you… and knocking you (or your visitors) over.   Not cool.

You would think that the boss would have remembered this from when I was young and I jumped on her when she was carrying a bowl of tomato soup over to the blue and WHITE couch… but she apparently forgot about this by the time our new evil puppy Scout came around.   I guess people aren’t as smart as dogs.

Hopefully you can learn from her mistakes and teach your dogs proper behavior BEFORE they get too big to easily handle.

 

There are many more posts that talk about dealing with the dreaded puppies.

What do you think about training dogs while they’re still little?

Training… For Humans

There are literally hundreds (maybe thousands) of dog books about this.   Since this website can’t be hundreds of pages long (because my paws would get really tired, really training a dog is outside of the scope of what we’re doing here.

We are big fans of the “Dummie” books.   This is where the boss started with me and we’ve always found that these books contain tons of really helpful information and they’re done in a really user friendly format.    

However, we can tell you a few things that the “experts” won’t tell you as well as a few things they will tell you that you won’t believe… until you don’t do it and then fail.

We’ve learned two things:

  • Training is more about the person than it is the dog.   (I knew it wasn’t really my fault!)
  • The “experts” are usually right.   There is a reason they’re experts… they kind of know what they’re doing.

Poor Training (That Means YOU)
Here’s the problem.   Most dog owners don’t know a thing about how to train us.   You all think if you get mad at the dog about something a few times that it automatically means we’ll stop doing it… even though the next few times it happens… we don’t get in trouble.

If there is food on the counter and I get in trouble for grabbing it the first four times but NOT the fifth… I’m thinking it might be worth it to grab it again and hope it will be one of the times you don’t want to get off the couch.   Or you just want to yell at me from across the room.

It’s not about the dog… it’s about the trainer…   and the consistency of the trainer.

Our vet once said (well, she said it more than once because the boss is a slow learner… and kind of lazy).   “Never give an order that you are not in a position to enforce.”

As a dog I’m not a big fan of that, but once I KNOW that I have to do what she says… then I give up and start doing it.   You have to correct the dog every single time they do what you don’t want them to.   Not most of the time… every single time.

Sometimes it’s helpful to “set us up” (although I’m not sure I really think that is fair)  🙂

For example if you’re having trouble keeping the dog off the counters, purposely put some food at the edge of the counter so it’s easily within the dog’s reach.   Then stay close and pay attention so you can make the correction instantly.

Have I mentioned that the trainer is more important in this equation than the dog?   If you pay attention and are consistent in what behavior correct, any dog can learn what you want them to.

Does your dog do something that they shouldn’t be doing?

Did you TEACH them that they shouldn’t do it?   Telling them doesn’t count, you have to teach them what is ok and what is not ok.   Oh… and you have to be consistent about it… did I mention that yet?   I know I said it already, but if you’re as slow as my boss is, I need to mention it more than once!!