One of the most frustrating things about being a dog trainer are the owners not taking ownership of their dog. What I mean is that they just want the dog fixed but don’t want to be involved in any of the work required. Let me enlighten you, whether you are taking private lessons, day care training or signing your dog up for a board and train you will have work to do. Dogs are animals and they react to their environment. I can get your dog to behave really well, ignore distractions and behave off leash, but you need to take ownership and work with your dog once they go home. We always follow up with private lessons and group class so there are no excuses. Everyone should be able to have off leash reliability. We want everyone to succeed.
Off leash reliability is the confidence to let your dog hang out with you in the garage or front yard and not have to worry about them running out into the street after a dog or to say “hi” to the passing children. Off leash reliability is the confidence of taking your dog out in a field to play fetch or to go hiking and knowing your dog will come when you call them. Off leash reliability is the freedom your dog has of running loose and being a dog. Off leash reliability rocks but you need to take some time and work at it. You need to take ownership of your dog. If your dog runs away and doesn’t listen don’t blame the dog. Blame yourself for not taking ownership and the time to train your dog.
A professional trainer is a start but not the magic pill to make your dog all better. Training your dog doesn’t have to be a chore. It just takes a little know how and persistence. If you really want a well behaved dog, training should take place throughout the day not just when you are trying to teach a behavior. If you have issues with your dog listening when they are out doors train your dog using a long line. A long line is a leash that is about 15 – 20 feet long. Have your dog drag the leash around while outdoors. Most dogs need to get used to dragging a leash and I always start the dog dragging a short leash inside the house, so outdoors with long line isn’t a big deal because they are used to it. With the long ling attached to your dog while outdoors you have some control. If the dog chooses to run from you step on the line. The dog will abruptly get stopped and soon will learn that running away is not a game that we play. Use the line to teach the dog to follow and come. Use lots of treats. Sticking by your side is fun because they get to eat yummy treats. The long line can also be used to teach boundaries. We once had a dog that liked to run deer. My wife taught the dog to not go into the woods by using the long line and giving a tug on the line every time the dog approached the woods. The dog soon learned the woods is not an option.
You have to be consistent as well. You cannot take the dog into the woods sometimes for hikes and then expect him/her to not venture into the woods. Have you ever seen a dog trained on an invisible fence? Even without the fence collar on, the dog will stop and not go past the imaginary line. The reason is the fence collar is consistent in its training. Whenever the dog approaches the invisible line it gets a warning and then an electrical stim. They learn not to go past that line and they will never past the line with the training collar off or on. It’s all about being consistent.
Everyone has seen dogs dragging their owner around when leashed. These people have not taken ownership of their dog. I was in a park once and saw a man yelling and chasing his chocolate lab. The dog had no respect for the owner and was running following his nose. This guy has not taken ownership of his dog. Anyone ever live next to a neighbor who’s dogs bark excessively. Barking dogs are very annoying in fact most cities and townships have ordinances for nuisance barking. Nuisance barking is an easy fix, it’ called a No bark collar and it works great. If you own a nuisance barker do your neighbors a favor and buy your dog a “no bark” collar and I don’t want to hear how it makes your dog feel sad. It’s a dog and the no bark collar makes happy neighbors. Take ownership of your dog and be a good neighbor and put a no bark collar on your dog. Again no bark collars work because they are consistent. Notice a theme here?
Dogs are wonderful pets as long as they are trained. They can be extremely frustrating if they are not. Take some time with your dog and do some basic obedience training. All dogs should have good manners, it’s about taking ownership of your dog. No barking, jumping, biting, leash pulling, stealing food and the dog should come when it is called. Responsible pet owners do these things. Irresponsible pet owners do not. What kind of pet owner are you?