I know how to fool a dog trainer. The one I fool the most is me! While it may seem simple, learning to teach a dog with clarity isn’t as easy as it sounds. The road is filled with misconceptions and misperceptions. Hopefully by sharing some of my mistakes, you can avoid making them yourself. Don’t let the dog trainer in you be fooled!
With literally dozens of ways to teach a dog to do the same behaviour, how do we choose the best way for us? It seems we often choose a method because “it works” for us. But what does that mean? It could be that the dog looks like it’s doing what we want. But is there more to it?
The street dogs of Old Havana and Vedado where most tourists can be found wandering are for the most part in better physical condition and fare better in their interactions with people than in countries facing similar economic conditions.
Nothing but time, the great healer of sadness, can take away the pain of losing a beloved dog. It is never easy to let go of a dog that has become so much a part of our lives. My heart goes out to all who are grieving the loss of a dear canine friend. They are with us for so short a time.
The greatest difficulty I have always had in improving how I live and work with my dogs has been my own attitudes and beliefs about dogs. Keeping an open mind and being willing to admit I’m wrong has allowed me to learn and grow. And that has benefited both me and my dogs.
Anyone who has let their dogs have a good run around knows just how agile dog are. Whether they are romping through the woods, narrowly avoiding collisions at the dog park, or playing the sport of dog agility, dogs seem to be masters of the running/jumping/turning thing. It doesn’t take much effort to teach them to use their powers for “good” on an agility course.
All of a sudden a cat ran into the street and was hit in its back end by a car. I watched for a moment as, with collapsed hind legs, it tried to run out of traffic to safety. Before the light turned red, I started towards the middle of the intersection, putting my hands in the air.
There is an old saying something like, “A good craftsman never blames his tools.” Likewise, it’s important that we never give credit to our tools for good work either. Dog training is an interactive process and as your dog’s trainer, you are responsible for creating a good relationship in which your dog can learn. Choose your tools wisely and learn to use them well!
Teaching our dogs to do things can be great fun. But teaching them to NOT do things can be just as important. Taking a proactive approach to teaching our dogs when it’s time to settle can be much more productive and rewarding than interrupting or scolding them. It’s remarkably easy and can make for happier dogs!
There is a trend in modern dog training toward kinder, more dog-friendly training methods. Training that seeks to remove everything unpleasant for the dog and to make learning more enjoyable. But is kindness enough to teach our dogs? Is there more to being effective trainers than just being kind to our dogs and not using force?