Do you look on with envy as your neighbor jogs through the neighborhood, his faithful dog trotting happily and calmly by his side? Does your arm ache after every walk with your dog – sore from almost being pulled from the socket? Do you watch dog shows with disbelief, unsure how that many dogs can behave so well all at the same time?
It only takes a few minutes a day to achieve a well-trained dog. It doesn’t happen in one day, but with a training plan and patience, you and Brutus will achieve a happy partnership. Keep in mind that no dog, not even Lassie, Rin-Tin-Tin or Benji, comes into the world with manners.
Like any other project, dog training works best if you can break the task into manageable chunks and work on one piece at a time. Puppies and dogs have limited attention spans – short training sessions work best. If you can plan two or three five-minute sessions every day, you can train your dog. Over time, with consistency and patience, Gizmo will understand what’s expected of him and become the companion animal you always wanted.
Will Ace understand what you’re up to at first? No way. He will know that the being he adores above all others on Earth is spending some time with him. And that will make him happy. Banshee will wiggle with absolute delight when she realizes that these sessions involve not only spending time with you, but getting cookies!
Some trainers object to training a dog with food, believing that “bribery” is not a good thing. But most dogs, like people, pay much closer attention when they know there’s something in it for them. Treats are a terrific motivator. Toys can also work well with many dogs. If purists consider treats to be a shortcut – what’s wrong with that? Most people aren’t worried about perfect obedience from their dogs – they just want to take Diggity to the park without worry.
A wonderful dog trainer said “Every dog is trained to his owner’s level of comfort.” Only you can decide which “battles” with Einstein are worth fighting. Make a training plan for you and Furface, work on it a little at a time. If you approach training as an opportunity to spend some fun time with your dog, you’ll both look forward to your sessions and you’ll achieve a well-mannered pet.
About the author
Hope Saidel is the co-owner of GollyGear, a bricks-and-mortar and online small dog shop featuring fun, affordable and practical products for small dogs. She has trained and competed in Obedience with small dogs for over a decade and is on the Board of Directors of the North Shore Dog Training Club.