Did your new year’s resolutions include playing with your dog more? How about training your dog?
Dog training should be fun; it is about a relationship built on trust between you and your dog. Dogs are never too old to learn new tricks. They also need a healthy balance of physical and mental exercise. Dogs do not speak English, Spanish, Japanese or Hawaiian, but they can be taught to understand what we expect from them. They can learn our vocabulary, no matter what language you speak, but we must teach them. Most dogs fail because they do not understand what we want them to do. First we teach dogs what we want them to do, and then we teach them to want to do what we want them to do. Why? Because they are rewarded for good behavior, either through food, attention or other life rewards.
I recommend puppy kindergarten for pups ages 2 to 5 months, that gets your canine companion off on the right paw. Dogs that young are not too young to start learning, and it is essential, if not critical for dogs to make positive associations with the world around them.
For dogs over 5 months old, I recommend the Family Dog 1 class which is given upcountry as well as at the Humane Society. This class focuses on basic obedience and manners. Think of it like and English as a second language class for your dog.
Once your dog has completed that class, there are other opportunities, such as the Family Dog 2 and 3 classes which build on basics and help your dog become a Canine Good Citizen.
Group classes are not appropriate for dogs that are overly shy, fearful, or aggressive. In these situations, we recommend private lessons.
A dog is a teenager from 6 months until he is 2 years old. That is often the most difficult time for dogs. Hundreds of thousands of dogs are turned in annually to animal shelters because their owners did not know how to deal with their behavior problems and couldn’t find a reliable resource to help them.
Dog training for the first two years of your dog’s life is critical. Set your dog up to succeed, not fail by making sure you have the tools to raise your dog. Using force or what is referred to as compulsion training is not necessary. There are much more effective ways to train your dog.