Is Your Dog Well Trained?
Some of you are here to dog training advice, problem solving, or behavior problems but some of you are dog trainers and some of you have dogs that are well trained.
A lot of people go through dog obedience classes, some of the dogs are top of the class and graduate with “honors” and some barely graduate at all!
But does that make them well trained?
I always say to my clients:
To Test Your Dog’s Obedience;
Sit on The Floor Facing Away From Him and Give Him a Command
Use a normal voice, not that mad voice you reserve for when he is in trouble ;)
Does he listen?
My guess is that most dogs, when seeing you sit on the floor, fly into your lap or try to scratch your eyes out while dancing tap steps on the top of your head!!
This isn’t such a horrible thing, it just means that your dog listens to you under certain circumstances but not ALL circumstances.
In one of the sports which I compete in and hope to compete at a higher level, the rules of the “game” or competition change with each judge.
It sounds really hard and not fair; because you never know what each different judge might ask you to do.
But to me, that is the test of good dog training (not a systematic approach where you know exactly what will be required)!
In one scenario, the judge had the owner of the dog leave the dog in a “stay” while he/she skipped down the field and laid down on the ground on his/her stomach face facing away from the dog.
Let's face it most dogs would break at the “skipping”… I mean who can resist a skipping human?
Then the others I would expect to break at the laying down on the ground racing to their owners to join in the fun!
But these dogs were not only expected to stay, they were expected to stay there until their owner called them they were also expected to change position (sit, down, stand), then halfway to the owner (on the judges signal; because the owner could not see the dog) the owner was to give the dog the “DOWN” command!
WOW!! What a test!
I will be the first to be honest with you and tell you that none of my dogs can do that, at least not right now! My old dog is kind of old and senile, and the other’s 2, 1, and 4 months just don’t have that kind of training, yet.
But I can tell you it gives me something to aspire to!
And, I like silly training. Silly training gets me ready for real life.
You may not skip through your house and kick up your feet very often… but if you go to the park you may encounter a child that does!
And, in my opinion, if your dog can “stay” while you skip, jump and run around in a field under few other distractions you might just have a chance of him being able to do a short sit or down stay under normal or busy environmental circumstances.
I use to tell my clients (when I ran group classes) that if their dog could do a 30 minute down stay at home, they might be able to do a 2 minute down stay with the other dogs in the class!
Obedience gets more complicated with more distractions.
My goal is to train all my dogs like they are Service or Guide Dogs. My background in training is with Service Dogs so I know how difficult it is to get a dog to ignore just about any distraction. Working dogs are expected to not only “survive” walking through a busy Wal-Mart but also enjoy it!
That requires REAL obedience!
And, even though you can’t take your dog into Wal-Mart you can train your dog to the point that you could do obedience in the Wal-Mart parking lot!
Once you can conquer that during “happy hour” with no problems you can move on to sillier training techniques.
Skip, run, tumble (if you are limber), sit on the ground, lay on your stomach and practice your obedience.
Then you can add running, screaming children, dogs at the dog park, cats, or other crazy distractions to perfect your obedience.
Obedience is NEVER finished, even when they are old and getting a little senile it is best to stretch their brains to the max! Keep pushing yourself and your dogs and you will also continue to keep your relationship strong!
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.