Don't Feel Sorry For the Dog

We see a variety of dogs at our training center. We have happy dogs, hyper dogs, scared dogs, nervous dogs, reactive dogs, calm dogs, confident dogs, submissive dogs, aggressive dogs, and the list goes on. We also have dogs that come in with a variety of behavior issues such as nuisance barking, chewing, submissive peeing, jumping, play biting, real biting, and so on. We are not animal behaviorists, we are dog trainers. Most of the time introducing structure and teaching some important obedience commands goes a long way.

Structure and Obedience will typically help with the behavior issues. We provide the best training we can for every dog that comes into our facility, but we are not miracle workers. The other day, a gentleman complained that, although his dog is awesome off-lead and his obedience is the best, the dog still urinates and defecates when a man comes near him. If you own a dog that’s that nervous training isn’t going to fix the problem.

First, don’t pick out a nervous puppy and do your homework if you are looking for a purebred dog. Do not buy your pup at a puppy store, find a reputable breeder. If the puppy is a really good deal there is a reason the pup is cheap. Avoid cheap and look for quality. If you are looking at animal shelters talk with staff but, keep in mind, these dogs are in shelters for a reason and that reason will come to head once the dog gets comfortable in your home. If you are adopting a dog from the shelter, plan on investing $1200 – $2700 in training with that dog.

Dog and the Fur Parent are a team. Not all, but a fair amount of dog parents that come through our door with behavior issues are half of the problem. They comfort, pet, plead and spoil their dog, and you cannot do that with a dog that has behavior issues such as aggression, nervousness or is just plain stubborn. People will tell me they know these things, but still pet their dog and say “it’s okay” as the dog is growling at someone. If my dog growls, I sternly tell her to Quiet. And, my dog does Quiet because I  have done all of the important little things since she was born.

The little things are obedience and rules. There are three reasons why a dog won’t do something – they either don’t know how to (lack of training), they physically cannot do it (pain), or they flat out refuse to because they are in charge and they just don’t want to. Almost all of the dogs that train at our facility are between 7 weeks – 2 years old. So you can toss out “it hurts,” dogs are in pretty good shape during this time of their lives. While they are at our facility we do the training part, so by the time the dog is finished with our team they know Sit, Down, Place, Follow, Come, Heel and Wait.

If they don’t do these things at home, the owners need to work with them. If issues arise, such as “my dog won’t place at home,” it is because the dog is refusing to do it. The owner is letting the dog make the decisions. Dogs cannot make the decisions, and I tell people this, but once they go home the dog becomes a spoiled little fur baby that cuddles on the couch. This is one thing that makes me crazy. We provide reading material, give advice but it’s up to the Fur Parent to put on their Parenting Pants and do the work that is required for them to have a well behaved, happy dog.

We sell bark collars and they work great. People thank us and often say this tool has solved their nuisance barking dog problem. I have had others say “It makes my dog sad.” The owner admits the dog stopped barking, stopped pacing, and laid down but, the dog was “sad.” I remember getting in trouble with my Dad when I was young, and when my Dad got after me, I was sad too. Did he feel bad? Hell No. Did I get over it? Yes I did.

With E collar training, indivisible fences, or no bark collars the dog will probably look sad at first. Take the collar off and the dog figures out looking sad will get you to take the collar off. That was easy! Leave the collar on and the dog gets over it. My dog Bracha looks sad every time I put her training collar on in the morning when it’s time to go to work. It’s pathetic. It’s the same behavior every day. I load her up in my car and we go to work. When she jumps out of my vehicle, she is prancing and ready to start her new adventures at Adams K-9. She is happy and she got over it.

So which Fur Parent are you going to be? Your dog wants you to be the parent, teacher, and instructor that shows him how to behave, listen, and follow instructions. Instructions like Sit, Down, Place, Follow, Come, Heel and Wait. Your dog expects you to teach it the rules of life, rules like no jumping, begging, whining, or counter surfing. Teach your dog to be respectful of others and to have a calm, welcoming behavior.

Do these things and everyone will love your dog as much as you do. If you need help training your dog in the West Michigan area, we are only a phone call away. Contact Adams K-9 today and love your dog, love your dog’s behavior

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