Seraphim Says Hello

Seraphim Says Hello

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Great Training Debate

We’ve all seen it, those dogs that are lunging at the end of their leashes, snarling nasty little beasts that are screaming to get at your beloved puppy. Deep down you’re thinking why oh why would you not train that dog?

At our house it’s a constant debate over how to train the dogs. We have two trainers we watch on the television: Caser Millan’s “Dog Whisperer” and Brad Pattison’s “At the end of my Leash”, I honestly suggest that you take the time to watch a few of each of their episodes, and take note of their techniques.

Our dogs are not aggressive, they’re hyper they jump and bark and play. My husky/Sheppard cross, Seraphim, is 10 months old and nothing short of rambunctious. Our little Butterball is about 3 months old and is still learning to grasp that we go outside, and not on the freshly mopped floors. There are days where it doesn’t matter what I say the dogs just prove me wrong in front of other people, they jump even though I trained them not to, the don’t ask to go out and they just infuriate me.

Many people don’t train their own dogs, rather they take them to dog trainers who either take the dog and train it for them and then show the owners, or to multiple classes depending on the desired results. These options are great for first time dog owners, or owners of dogs who are being adopted from places like the SPCA, and are known to have behavior issues. They empower the owners to understand the psyche of the dog and understand that the behaviors can be changed.

At our house, we train our dogs ourselves. I take a bit of Caser’s techniques as well as Brad’s techniques and mix them into my own little take, and I suggest that anyone who is comfortable enough with dogs to do the same. Tailor the two takes into something you and your dog(s) are going to be able to stay with.

No matter your choice, whether you train at home, or train through a professional keep in mind these values:

  1. Consistency – everyone in the family should be on board with the training, what we do in our home is effective. I implement the new lesson (i.e. sit, stay) and then inform my husband how I’ve been doing it and achieving success. He then mimics my training in a consistent manner and we have success.
  2. Patience – I cannot stress this, if you dog feels your impatience they feed off of it, and they will not do what you want. Be as patient as you would be with a child who is potty training.
  3. Regular Exercise, Discipline, and Affection – These ideals are taken directly from Caser Millan, exercising your pet regularly, maintaining a standard of discipline (though I do not condone hitting an animal ever) and appropriate affection is the key to a happy, healthy puppy.

As I stated above, patience is essential, if you are frustrated or angry with your dog for unwanted behavior take a break. Never hurt the animal intentionally with your hand or an object as this will cause fear, and cause the dog to become aggressive. You can achieve discipline with a firm voice; usually I also clap and go “Hey! No, bad!” This catches the attention of the dog, and they know when they’ve done wrong.

Don’t be afraid to practice this anywhere, I have scolded my dog in public before and called her bad right in front of whomever, or whatever I want. Just make sure you don’t shout, just be firm, loving, and understanding. Dogs are dogs, not humans. They are pack orientated animals, and you are part of the pack, now you just have to become the leader of that pack.

Caser Millan's Website
Brad Pattison's Website

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