Monday, 21 January 2013

How to Train Your Dragon.....*cough*...I mean Dog....

There is this incredible pressure on dog owners when it comes to selecting an appropriate training method, or trainer, for their newest furry family member.  No one wants to live under the stigma of having a “Bad Dog” or being that owner in the park who everyone avoids because, let’s face it – Rover just isn't properly socialized – and he doesn't quite come when called either....
In the age of Cesar Milan’s “The Dog Whisperer”  or the new CBS Prime-time series “Dogs in the City” where trainers with magical dog-telepathy abilities are “curing” dogs and training people, how in the world is the common-Joe of dog owners supposed to get their pups trained without making it onto the nearest television network?

 The answer?  Training. 

The Dogington Post has recently posted an incredible resource in terms of the questions you should be asking yourself and your potential new trainer while on the hunt for the perfect mesh of leadership, discipline, dominance, affection and fun....

When selecting a professional dog trainer, pet parents should consider the following questions:

1: What is their level of experience, where did they learn how to train dogs, and what is their success rate with your specific breed of dog? A professional dog trainer is like many occupations—just because they claim to be a “professional” does not mean they know what they are doing. Get references from the trainer and visit those who have had their dog trained by this individual. 

2: ask what training methods they use. There are two basic training methods used to train a dog. One is the “positive reinforcement” method where the dog receives plenty of praise and encouragement for doing as instructed. The second method is a harsher method using shock collars as well as other less than desirable methods (in my humble opinion). Avoid a trainer who uses the second method

3: The cost. How much are you willing to spend on a professional dog trainer?  While the better trainers can be more costly, please keep in mind that the size of the price tag does not always equal the value you are receiving.   

4:  There is also the debate between private lessons and large group lessons (offered by most pet supply stores).  Keep in mind that large groups provide more distractions and can make a training session ineffective.  On the flip side, practicing training in these environments can also help you learn how to handle your pup in such distractions.  Ask yourself before you start – which would you prefer?

Keep in mind that there is no GUARANTEED method for training ALL dogs – no magical trainer or training method that will produce the perfect house dog with little to no effort on the part of the pet-parent.  Training takes work and repetition.  It takes dedication and a great deal of patience.  There will be successes that you can celebrate, but you will also need to prepare yourself for the unavoidable set-backs.  But if you and your four-legged furry friend can both buckle down and commit to a training regimen, the peace of mind and happiness you will find at the end of your training journey will be priceless

Keep you Tails Wagging
Bear’s P4ws

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