Want a Well Behaved Dog? You Need To Put In The Work

What is the key to having a well behaved obedient dog? Work. The more time you put in with your fur baby, the better your dog is going to be. I have seen it time and time again in West Michigan police canine services when I used to certify police dogs. It was easy to tell the officers that only trained on their paid duty days and the ones that trained when they were not getting paid. The ones with excellent dogs trained at home and on vacation. Time spent on your dog directly correlates with the dog’s obedience and behavior.

I also see this in the civilian world with our group polishing classes. I can tell the ones that work on their skills at home and the ones that don’t. During our group classes, I throw balls, squeak toys, throw discs, and drop food while the dogs are doing their obedience routines; Sit, Down, Come, Heel and Place. If the dogs cannot Place and Stay at home they certainly will not do it in a group class. People that struggle are not doing the work at home. Dog training is not a magic pill. After our two week program, they don’t go home perfect. There will be more work required on Mom and Dad’s part. It takes commitment.

When dogs finish our two-week training program and immediately start attending our group class, they do pretty well. I know who is spending time training at home as the time goes on. If the dog’s obedience gradually worsens as the weeks pass by, I know they are not being worked with at home. Dog training should continue throughout the life of the dog. People will ask – when do you start training your dog? I start training as soon as the pup arrives at my house, or better yet, before.

When I pick up a puppy from the breeder, it rides home in a crate. That means Crate training has begun. When I get home I put a little flat collar on its neck right away (collar conditioning). I also attach a thin leash on the collar (leash conditioning). The puppy walks around dragging a leash whenever it is out of the kennel. The leash is just part of his/her jewelry. The leash is normal for the pup and that pup has a leash on until I have a solid recall (come when called all the time). We are talking 5 – 6 months of age before the dog is allowed off of the leash. Some may ask – you have a solid recall at 5 – 6 months of age? Yes, because I started training as soon as the pup came home.

I use food to teach the pup to Follow, Sit, Down, Come and Place. When the pup is young I teach it to accept handling of its feet, mouth, ears, and tail, and to accept grooming. I take the pup out to experience the world so new things do not scare it. We do confidence building exercises with stairs, A-Frame, bottle bin, boardwalk, and different surfaces. I make sure the pup is socialized with dogs, children, and adults. I do all of these things to have a well-balanced, happy, obedient dog.

Once my dogs are a year old it’s much easier, but there is still training to do. Have you ever heard the saying “If you don’t use it you lose it”? Dogs need structure and consistency. Dogs need it in black and white, they don’t understand grey. What I mean is they, always stay off the furniture and never jump on anyone or beg. Give them one scrap of food from the dinner table and you have a begging dog. We wait when a door opens and never pull on a leash. Who makes the rules? Mom and Dad make the rules, and enforces them.

I always know who runs the show in the household – the fur baby or the parents. The jumping, play biting, barking dog knows who runs the show, and it isn’t the parents. Don’t be that parent. I hear people say “we won’t go to their home because of their dog”. If people do not want to visit you because your dog is disrespectful, that is on you. It is not your dog’s fault. I understand people work, have kids and have busy lives. If you have a dog or puppy and are in over your head, seek help.

We can do wonders with your dog in just two weeks. It is money well spent. But, it does require commitment on your part to stay the course. Schedule a free evaluation with Adams K-9 today to learn more.

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Legislating the Tools

Legislating the Tools

I would like a quarter every time someone came in my training facility dragged by their dog in a harness or gentle leader. If they work for your dog, then great! However, we see a fair amount of people asking for help because their dog still leash pulls or is reactive on lead.

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