Aspiring to Better Dog Obedience
I use to be on one of those public weight loss programs. I joined it with my best friend many years ago, and let me just say IT WORKED. Why? You ask, why did it work? What was the secret to weight loss? Accountability! Is the answer.
I will say it gave us so great knowledge and coping skills and together we had a peer group and a support system to rely. All of this ensured that we were successful! We had to weigh-in in front of someone every 2 days. They were NEVER negative at the weigh-ins and never gave us a hard time about gaining or not losing they were always supportive and willing to give us support and more information when we needed it.
What does weight loss have to do with dog training? Accountability!
The reason my weight loss program worked? I had to weigh-in in front of someone every other day, and although they were not negative about our weigh-ins; I did not want to fail or even stay the same. I felt like I HAD to show progress. I had a goal and my long term goal was to lose weight, but my short term goal was to not be embarrassed on the scale every 2 days!
Accountability makes a HUGE difference, at least for me. If I am left to my own devices, I might not choose the right road. I often get lazy and put off things like: dog training or weight loss. I always have tomorrow, right?
In order to run every day, I need to train for a half marathon or marathon and put smaller goals on my calendar.
I think it is human nature to put off what we don’t see as “ESSENTIAL” on a daily basis. We fall into habits and habits are hard to break.
But, like my weight loss program, if I have a training “goal” I will do what I have to do to reach that goal.
Recently, I signed up for a dog training seminar and I was going to stay with a dog trainer friend of mine. I shudder to admit that I don’t do “scheduled obedience” everyday like I need to. I am human and often let dog training go by the wayside and get involved in “life” and all its complications like everyone else.
BUT, I didn’t want to show up to the seminar with crazy, psychotic dogs! I AM a dog trainer after all! So every day for several weeks I made an effort to take my furry kids out and work on obedience and their other training skills.
Within a few days they were listening better and we were working together as a team. I was “The Dog Trainer” again! They were stimulated and enjoying our daily appointments to go outside, work, and play! AND, they were too tired to get into trouble or drive me crazy at night!
It was then that I realized, I personally, need accountability! I need an obedience class, a seminar, an obedience title or some big goal to train toward. When I have a goal, I make a sincere effort to reach that goal!
So, from now on I am going to train like “a dog trainer” or train as if I am going to compete!
So my advice to you?
Train like you are going into a competition next week!
That means take some time every day to take your best friend out and work on his obedience skills or play together using control games so that he gets use to listening to you!
It does not take long to see a difference. 5 minutes a day is all it will take for you to see a distinct difference in how much your dog is willing to listen to you and obey your commands.
Imagine if you will: living with your children, but never really interacting with them or having them do anything for you. Do you think they would respect you when you ask them to do something for you? Now, add a language barrier…that would make the odds of them obeying even less likely.
However, if you make an effort to learn their language, spend time with them, bond with them, be kind, and teach them what to do to make you happy…chances are you will have a successful relationship.
I know that my dog’s lack of willingness to listen is in direct proportion to how much I take him out and work with/play with him!
- Make a goal to compete together
- Challenge your best friend or neighbor to a train off
- Take an obedience or other type of dog training class
- Join a dog training club
- Just schedule time to train each night
Don’t get lazy (like me), just do it! Get out there and train with your dog every day! I promise that you will see an improvement almost immediately. And, I will be taking my own advice! So I’m outta here, grabbin’ my dog to go get some training and play in before dark!
I have been a professional dog trainer and pet sitter for over 20 years. I am a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, through the international Certification Counsel of Professional Dog Trainers. I have trained and worked with police, Schutzhund and personal protection dogs. I trained Assistance Dogs in a men’s prison and ran my own nonprofit organization to take adult dogs from shelters and to train them to assist children and adults with disabilities, at no charge to my clients. My nonprofit organization and I were nominated for several awards of merit and even made the front page of the Denver Post. I was a veterinary technician for many years, where I learned about all aspects of health and preventative medicine. I have trained and worked with exotic animals and cheetahs. I introduced a temperament testing program in my local shelter and sat on the board of directors. I volunteered with my dog “Mr. Snitch” and helped local children learn to read. I have attained obedience titles and several blue ribbons. I am constantly in search of ways to continue my education and excellence when it comes to animals, their behavior and their health.