A Commitment to Train My Own Dog

by Lisa Lyle Waggoner

Personally, I can’t think of many things more fun than working with and training a dog, especially my own dog.   I did create a bit of time recently to work on some tandem “wait” and “individual release” practice with Gibson & Cody.  However, because Brad and I are always working with client’s dogs, we fall in the proverbial “shoemaker’s children have no shoes” column.

Since January is National Train Your Dog Month, I’m going to commit to making more time to work with Gibson, my 7 year old Australian Shepherd. In addition to working on a few tricks which are always fun, I plan to enroll in a two month Canine Freestyle course with Michele Pouliot (just Google her name to see some fun videos).  Ohhhh, I’ve longed to do this for a good long while now and am sure it’ll motivate me to try some new things which will benefit me, Gibson and our clients.  Gulp….now that I’ve said that out loud, I guess I’m committed!

How many times have you said, “I really need to get my dog some training” and then never acted upon it?  I think many people still have the misconception that training is difficult and boring.  Gone are the days of the grimly condescending trainer who is a taskmaster.  You deserve a trainer who listens to you, understands your goals for your dog and helps you get there by not only teaching you in class, but also transferring to you an understanding of how to solve problem behaviors once you’re outside of the classroom.  And most of all, training should be FUN for both you and your dog!

I imagine our dogs thinking that the silly human world they enter into is quite a weird, alien world.  I bet they wonder why they’re yelled at in a language they don’t understand when they display their typical, species behaviors, such as digging, biting, barking, jumping and chewing.  They need all those behaviors to live safely in their own dog-dog world.  A training class can help you learn techniques to gently persuade your dog that it’s in his/her best interest to listen and work with you.

An early start with training and socialization is credited with being the single common factor that is most likely to keep your dog in your home for its entire life, rather than joining the millions of homeless animals who end up in shelters every year.  So join me in making the commitment to get out there and train with your dog!

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