Training Dogs

Obedience training is a process, not an event.  It requires patience, repetition, and  positive reinforcement to get results.  Ten minutes of training twice a day will accomplish a great deal over time.  It is a great way to spend time during TV commercials.  No one learns everything there is to know about training because it is an ongoing process.

Obedience training in puppies should be done very gently.  Using tiny treats when he does what is asked, and saying “No” and withholding the treat when the puppy doesn’t, will accomplish a great deal.  Praise for the correct behavior in addition to the treats will also help him learn.  Harsh treatment at this age can result in behavior problems later on.  (I have a dog who was abused as a puppy.  Training has been slow because he is easily frightened and hesitant.  Some dogs become aggressive because of fear arising out of abuse.)  NEW NOTE:  This same dog now walks quietly beside me on a loose lead, sits and downs on command and is getting used to going to new places and meeting new people.  Patience, repetition, and positive reinforcement made the difference.

Treats for obedience training can include things like cheese, especially string cheese, hot dogs, chicken boiled without seasoning, cooked ground beef without seasoning.  Cut or crumble these into bites small enough that the dog swallows them without chewing.  Keep food refrigerated or frozen until they are used because dogs can get sick from food poisoning just as people can.  Goldfish or similar small crackers can also be used with bigger dogs. Dogs do best if they have not been fed a meal just before a class and remember to include the amount of treats they eat into figuring out how much to feed them in a day.

Some dogs are more interested in praise than treats.  A few dogs will not even accept treats when nervous such as the first couple of obedience classes with other dogs.  The instructor should be able to help you decide what will motivate your dog best.

HERDING DOGS  It is important to understand that this type of dog cannot be left in the backyard and ignored except for feeding.  They have been bred over many generations to work with people.

1)  They need a family or individual to bond with.  In their mind, that family or person becomes their pack.  Being left outside is the same to them as being abandoned and this can result in a difficult animal.  They want to be inside with the family.  It does not mean they have to be difficult house guests.  They need a dog bed or crate where they feel comfortable and they need to understand house rules.  (Ours include no begging at the table, no dogs on the furniture.)

2.) They need to have obedience training!  Let me repeat that….They need to have obedience training.  It should not be done harshly.  These dogs tend to be sensitive to how your voice sounds and anger in your voice or even negative body language will cause them to resist listening to you.

3.) They need exercise.  They need physical exercise and mental exercise.  Most were bred to work long hours and they have quite a bit of energy.  They are intelligent dogs and they like things to think about.  When their person doesn’t give them the physical and mental exercise they need, some of them create their own games…like how to get out of the yard or how to dig up flower beds.

Herding dogs are REALLY great fun but it is unfair to the dog to adopt it and then fail to meet the dog’s needs.

Although the above is written about Herding dogs, it also applies to most other working breeds…Retrievers, Pointers, Terriers, Hounds Huskies and so on…..

WHERE do you find information about Obedience Training?

The Deaf Smith County Library has books  that explain how to train a dog as well as the different breeds.  Through the Harrington Consortium, books can be borrowed from other Libraries in the area.

The Amarillo Obedience Training Club is just an hour from Hereford.  They offer classes ranging from Household Manners to Agility.  They have a website http://www.aotcdogs.com.  They are affiliated with the American Kennel Club (AKC) but their classes are open to dogs who are mixed breed as well as  Breed Registered Dogs.  In addition,  the AKC (www.akc.org) offers information on many aspects of dog ownership including training, health, and dog sports.  Through their AKC Canine Partners program, any dog can receive an AKC number to participate in AKC sponsored Agility, Obedience, Rally, and Coursing.  They can also qualify for the AKC Therapy Dog Title.

Petsmart in Amarillo offers classes in their store on Soncy.  There is more information on their website (www.petsmart.com)

Willow Creek Kennels (www.amarillodogboarding.com) offers dog training.  There is more information on their website or Facebook page.

ONLINE SOURCES

Petfinder (www,petfinder.com) In addition to listing adoptable pets, Petfinder has numerous articles on dog and cat care, training, grooming, different breeds, supplies for your new pet and even how to choose a pet from a Shelter or Rescue.

Animal Planet

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