Here’s the problem; in the event of an unexpected challenge—whether it be a natural disaster or a mugging on your way home, one of your greatest weaknesses could be one of your greatest loves—your dog.
I admit it. I absolutely love my two dogs. In spite of thinking I was more of a “cat person,” I’ve truly come to absolutely adore my two girls. I miss them when I’m gone for long periods of time, I talk to them, and I bring them up in group discussions about people’s “children.” Yup. I’m one of those devoted dorks who dresses up my pups in Ohio State Buckeye attire during the Rose Bowl. I’ve been known to dress them in sassy dresses, hats, coats, etc.
Do I speak Dog? You Bet!
Mind you, this adoration doesn’t come solely from me. Even my “Rambo” of a husband is a major softie when it comes to these girls. He’ll make them scrambled eggs, rough house with them regularly, and even talks baby talk to him. (I know. So embarrassing, eh?) They are constantly hanging out on his lap or in my window sill as we work during the day. Yes. Our two furry gals are family to us. I know there are many reading this who totally “get it.”
Those of you who have been smitten by your dogs know that your emotional attachment can’t simply be turned off and on. But therein lays the vulnerability. The best way to ensure that your dog is an asset to your security and safety is to take the time and effort to train them for consistent obedience. The alternative is to take a loaded chance on your own well-being as well as that of your furry friend. Yup, obedience training isn’t just about eliminating stains in your carpet or the disappearing roast from your dinner table.
We’ve all seen the scenes played out in on the movie screens. The hero is nearly victorious over the bad guys only to have his dog run errant and risk everyone’s safety, right? Training your dog now can ensure that you never become the subject of some fictional Hollywood script.
Training your Dog
There are a handful of critical areas in which to train your canine critter. Stay, come, leave it, stop, and controlled barking will be the most valuable to your safety and that of your dog. Believe it or not, your dogs actually LOVE to be trained. Unless they’ve been abused or are in ill health, dogs instinctively want to please their owner. The treats are great. But the praise and the play is everything to them. In fact, when you have a hyper, poorly focused dog, once you begin working with them in training their personality evens out and they become better at concentrating and listening. Additionally all of their other behaviors improve in consistency. Just as I was assured by professional dog trainers, when I worked on training the dogs regularly, they were more consistent in their potty habits, not jumping up on people, and coming when I called them. Like I said, they really do like to be worked with in this manner. It converts an errant dog into a valuable partner. With the right training, they could be a valuable security system that can go to all kinds of places with you.
I would recommend spending no more than 15 minutes at a time training them. It’s not good for either of you to go much longer than that. And besides, 15 minutes a day is a realistic goal for all of us, right?
I have found a great deal of success using the clicker method of training. It works on pets of all previous behavioral history. Even vicious dogs have been rehabilitated with this approach I highly recommend the books “Clicking With Your Dog” by Peggy Tillman and “Don’t Shoot the Dog” by Karen Pryor. Both books don’t require that you sit down and read them from cover to cover. You simply read one bit by bit and make progress with your furry friend each day. The clicker method even works for older dogs. Abused dogs also respond really well to clicker training. For those who don’t know, clicker training is presently used successfully with dolphins, birds, cats, and even husbands…OK. Well it hasn’t yet worked on my husband… The “clickers” are available at your major pet store chains for about a $1.50. Or you can get a fancy-schmancy one on Amazon for nearly $4.
Best diet for your dog
A dog’s diet also has a lot to do with their ability to focus and heed your words. The more garbage you allow to play a part of their mealtime, the more resistance you’ll get to consistency in their behavior. So pay attention to those ingredients so that you don’t have to work harder in your training efforts. Better yet, you can make your own dog food EASILY...but that’s another article.
Your safety and that of your dog may be contingent on your ability to get them to come when you call. If you’re distracted with Fido, you cannot focus on defending yourself in a critical moment. Keeping your dogs healthy may be reliant upon them heeding your command to “leave it.” Think of what the command “stop” or “freeze” could do in helping your kids, let alone your dog. (And yes, there really has been a great deal of success using clicker training on children—especially children with special needs.
Ok. So stop reading this and go spend some time with your favorite furry friend. You will both love it as you relish in the sense of accomplishment.
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