Advice: The Common-sense Dog

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Sometimes when we think of training, I think we see it as simply a means of damage control.

Sometimes we have good dogs who wind up developing bad behaviors, and we don’t consider training as an option until the dog is struggling. We see training as a fix, but as the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

We should never view training as a constant stream of pointless commands. As something tedious. As something time-consuming. If we see the training process that way, how can we ever convince our dogs to see it any other way?

Training, when done correctly, has nothing to do with hundreds of boring commands, constant repetition, and endless dead ends. Training is about connecting with our dogs and learning how to communicate.

I’ve said it many times before, our dogs don’t naturally know how to fit into our world. No different than children, they need a lot of coaching in order to be successful. Our children need help learning how to talk, to walk, to look both ways before crossing the street, to drive the car, etc. Our dogs need step by step guidance, too.

Imagine living in a world where we could effectively communicate with our dogs. A world where we could prevent them from bolting out the door and running away. A world where we could prevent them from biting the neighbor’s child. A world where we could prevent them from dragging us to the ground. It is all possible with proper training and understanding of how dogs interpret the world around them.

Thousands of dogs are surrendered to shelters every year for behavioral problems. Many of them do not find new homes once they have been surrendered. These are shocking numbers but very true. Granted, not all of these dogs could have been saved through preventative training. A small percentage have very strong issues that are a challenge for even the best trainers to fix. But most of these surrenders and behavioral problems can be prevented.

Preventative training does not need to be costly, time consuming, or miserable. In fact, it should be the opposite of all of those things. Sometimes something as simple as creating a routine for your dog and sticking to it consistently is enough to avoid a lot of behavioral issues.

If you have just adopted or purchased a new dog, I strongly suggest seeking training help early and often. Even reading this article each week is a step in the right direction. Once you

know how to communicate with your dog, you

can have a lifelong

successful relationship.

•••

Stephanie Vichinsky

is the owner/head trainer of Method K9 in Post Falls.

208-964-4806

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