21 September, 2013
When is my dog "trained" ?
I get to meet most people the first time in good circumstances, they call me all excited, having just brought their puppy home (or even better , before they bring him/her home). They want to start off training on the right foot, with supervised socialisation & training in a safe environment.
Week by week I see progress, sharing in their achievements & helping out with fresh ideas & encouragement if things go a bit off track (Which they always do, it's perfectly normal !!)
Progress varies tremendously as the pups grow, dependant on many factors, breed, home environment, owner dedication etc, but everyone finishes the puppy course with the basics under their belt.
This is when one of 2 things happens, the owner gets the training bug & we see them week after week, or, the owner is happy that their dog is "trained" & we never see them again.
This week I've had a couple of calls, from people with older pups, wanting help.
They've all attended puppy classes elsewhere & when the course has ended not enrolled for more classes, as they were happy with what they'd been taught.
HOWEVER, 6 months down the line, their now adolescent dog is much less than the well behaved dog it once was. They are too embarrassed to return to the classes they first attended, as they feel like they failed, so are seeking to join us at K9 Capers.
This got me thinking, I wonder who OUR former puppy attendees & their owners will turn to if they hit problems? I'd like to think they are confident they can come back & carry on their training, with us.
The answer to the question posed in the title?
A dog is never trained, they are constantly learning behaviours & these can be unwanted ones , as well as good ones.
Every new situation your dog finds itself in is a new learning experience & how YOU handle it will make all the difference.
Training's not a race to see who can teach the most, the quickest.
It's all about repetition, in various locations , with varying distractions.
Puppy owners often tell me; "Oh, he/she does it at home...just not here" !!!
The whole point of the class , is having the opportunity to test what you teach at home, in an environment with managed distractions.
These basic exercises ,look,settle,sit,stand,down,wait & come (along with their associated rewards of course) are the foundations on which you can build all your dogs future behaviours ....rush them & you'll have a wobbly, unsafe future. Take your time & you'll have a good strong base on which to build.