It is no secret that some of my favorite people are dogs. Dogs are not only superior conversationalists but keep my feet warm which few two leg friends manage. I like dogs.
Most people agree a decently trained dog is easier to like and a happier critter. A trained dog gets to be a bigger part of your life. When you go, they can often come. They have a much larger more exciting world if they can be trusted to follow a few basic rules.
One of the pups in the neighborhood is in the doghouse. It seems she refuses to come when called. A quick Internet search reveals many pages of sound advice from knowledgeable dog trainers… It is much easier to consider an animal defective than to blame your own lack of skills. Your dog isn’t “broken”, YOU ARE.
I used to take this pup on walks with my Little Bear when she was new in the hood. She is about a year and a half now. I knew quickly and advised the owners she would be a terrific candidate for dog school. She has a stubborn streak and it bothered me that when you said her name she didn’t look at you… Some of her most self endangering behavior has extinguished. She no longer chases cars. She no longer bothers the horses WHEN I AM WITH HER. Sadly this is not universally true and she got horse kicked a week ago. She has lost the privilege of going to “work” with Mom because she doesn’t honor basic commands.
It’s sad, but she is not my dog.
Dog school was the most wonderful thing Little Bear and I ever did together. It was fun and exciting and so was the homework. I learned so much and Mr. Little got to hang with the big dogs and sniff butt. Cookies were involved. It was the icing on the firm bond we were already developing. I ended up with a well mannered dog who was a joy to be around and could go anywhere with me. He knew to wait by the side of the road and not cross until I did. He knew things (food) on the coffee table were off limit. I could draw a line with my finger on the ground and tell him it “was a no” and he would not cross that line. If he did forget a simple sharp “eh!” was all that was ever needed and his good behavior brought him endless treats, pets and praise.
Training your dog is a gift to the dog, yourself, and everyone who ever meets that dog. Train your dog. You wouldn’t believe what they will willingly do for love, positive attention and a cookie.