Archive for July 25, 2007

Dogs best friend and dog training

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Pets are an amazing thing. I have only ever owned one dog, and as always he became a very good friend of mine. It is really odd how you bond with your dog. They really have personalities. Sure, dogs are dirty and can be a pain, but they are also company when you are lonely and a friend when you need one. No, they don’t talk to you. But yes, dogs do communicate. Dogs have emotions that you can learn to understand. And you can use dog training to make them well behaved.

Dog training is a funny thing. Take a trip to Petco on a saturday, as I did recently with my daughter, and you will see the dog training class in session. All of these pet owners trying to really get their dogs to listen to them. Many of the dogs in the class are puppies and are really not ready to be trained or have any interest in listening. They just want to play and smell the other dogs in the class. The call of nature for the dog I guess. in the end, dog training is difficult to master.

I was fairly successful in dog training, in some areas. I trained my dog so that when I put the food out on the floor he had to sit and wait for my command before starting to eat. I had read somewhere that this was important for establighing dominance over the dog, which would lead to a better overall relationship and training possibilities. By dominance, I don’t mean anything negative or abusive, more just a “who is in charge” type of thing. But the funny thing about my dog waiting to eat his food is that he would stare at the food and start to really druel. I mean that dog produced some serious suliva. It was a little gross. He had a release word that I would then say and he would charge the food and eat it all – practically without breathing.

Did this generalize to other training situations? I think so. In other words, dog training will help you control behavior in other situations. He was a good dog in general after this training. But his weakness was other dogs. When any other unknown dog was present he simply lost his mind. In these situations, he would not listen at all. This was frustrating for me because he was so well behaved in other situations. Additionally, he really wanted to be dominant with the other dogs. I often wondered if I was too hard on him, which translated into how he treated other dogs. Perhaps a softer approach is better for dog training, while still letting them know who is at the boss.