Choosing the right puppy for you, your family and your lifestyles is crucial to the well-being and longevity of your new pup. Please do your ‘breed’ research and go online, talk to trainers, dog nannies, reputable breeders, visit and volunteer at shelters, and spend time hands-on with the breed(s) or mixed breed(s) you think you are considering before bringing a new puppy home. Not every breed fits every person or family. You must remember that each breed was bred for specific tasks and temperaments, not just for ‘looks’; so that cute, fluffy, exotic, or super energetic, yippy, little darling puppy may not be right for you. There are over 300 recognized breeds and many mixtures thereof, so you will find the one that is right for you; just give it some time and be patient.
Do not ever buy a dog, or any living creature for that matter, based on a ‘perceived’ trend or ‘fashion’. Please also consider ‘fostering’ through a reputable ‘breed rescue‘ or shelter program first, and thoroughly understand that the life of this sentient being depends upon your choices. Puppies are loving, devoted friends and not disposable merchandise you can just throw away and go buy another one when you decide that you don’t like it anymore.
Over many years I have witnessed many many puppies and dogs of all breeds, both purebred and mixed breed alike, of all ages, sizes, and personalities become the hopeless victim of some human’s selfish and or unwise choices. Consider and be honest with yourself if you even have, or will be willing to make the quality and quantity of time necessary for a puppy or a dog. They are a lot more time consuming and expensive than many people realize. Please make caring and wise choices and enlist the help of qualified professionals for any questions or issues you may actually have or perceive to have encountered during this, or any phase of your dog’s life. You can do it. Just don’t get frustrated and always stay positive because dogs are extremely perceptive and can sense our emotions. They are about as psychic as you can get.
Although I am no longer training dogs except under very special circumstances, my goal when teaching ‘basic obedience’ skills, is to provide your dog with a set of commands that she understands, and which will make both your life and hers much more enjoyable. Just like human children that do not have a solid foundation of manners and direction, dogs who do not have a solid set of obedience and manners can quickly grow out of hand and the most loving, well-intentioned pet parents can quickly lose their patience, which of course does neither the dog nor the parent anything good and only produces a set-back.
First of all, let me say that I personally only train and work with positive reinforcement and do not believe nor do I advocate the use of any type of choke, pinch, or shock collars; and I stand by a firm rule of ‘never yell at or hit your dog.’ ‘Ever.’ You must treat them as you would like to be treated; with love, and respect, and they will reciprocate. Trust me.
Some basic commands I advise teaching your dog are: Sit, Down, Sit-Stay, Come, Stop * Which of course, you will work with them patiently, on on a daily basis to be ‘consistent’ and to ‘reinforce’ these very important lessons.
Speaking of ‘consistency’, ALL members of the household must respect and practice ‘consistency’ if your dog is to fully understand and demonstrate the behavior that you desire of her. There can’t be one family member who tells the dog one thing and another who ‘un-does’ that behavior; especially while we are in the ‘learning’ and ‘practice’ phase. Everyone has to be ‘in the same book’; so to speak.
Continuing obedience work, adding new commands such as ‘Off’, fun games such as ‘Find Me’, and so forth are what I would consider and look for in a Dog Trainer to teach as ‘Intermediate’ Education.
Tricks and tasks such as ‘Agility’, Preparing for the CGC ( Canine Good Citizen ) Certificate, Training for working in the film industry, are all considered ‘Advanced Education’.
This would be training such as work for becoming a ‘Service Dog’, ‘Guide Dog’, ‘Search and Rescue Dog’, etc.
- I have trained dogs for Service Dog work, however, at this time I am not doing this type of training.
Possessiveness of a person, toy, or food; in combination with or without aggression; *this of course is especially dangerous if the dog strikes out with aggression on any of these possessiveness issues.
Many trainers working with dogs who exhibit behavioral issues, consider this to be one of the top reasons a person would seek out professional help from a trainer, and I really encourage pet parents to be prepared to stay on top of the training for consistency and follow up at home. You can hire the best trainer in the world, but if you don’t practice consistency at home with your dog, it’s not going to make the difference in the desired behavior you are looking for to help your dog become a better dog.
Behaviors that may seem ‘cute’ or ‘funny’ to you when your dog is little in size or age may not be all that cute or funny as the dog grows up and these behaviors get out of control. Ultimately, it’s up to you to set the good example.
* Regarding any and all behavioral issues you would like to see improved upon or corrected on the whole, you must first pose this very crucial and honest question of yourself; ” Do I WANT to change some of my OWN behavior patterns in order to set the positive example to bring about positive changes in my beloved dog’s desired behavior? “
If the ego enters into this at all and you say “NO, I am not willing to change some of my behavior patterns for the greater good of my dog’s and our household’s well-being; then you must reconsider and take ego out of the equation, because your dog is looking to YOU as a positive role model, and until you are WILLING to make some changes that may be contributing to your dog’s undesired behaviors, then nothing will change for the better.
Stay with me on this. The ego holds no place when animals and nature are concerned, as animals are not concerned with any of that; they are only concerned with “The NOW. ” They don’t live with one paw in the past and another in the future and ignoring the ‘now’ as many humans do; they just want to have fun, relax, live in the moment, please us, and love us unconditionally; and they would love for us to ‘lighten up’ and learn how to do the same. We would do well to take many of our lessons from dogs, animals on the whole, and from nature.
If you are not willing to change for the greater good, and you are still caught up in the ‘my dog’s better than your dog’, ‘ my breed of dog is better than your breed of dog’, ‘my dog deserves to bully another person’s dog to get his/her way’ attitudes; then understandably most respectable professional dog trainers will respectfully have to decline offering you their services until that attitude changes for the positive.
” Animals are our greatest friends and wisest teachers”
We must always practice Kindness,Compassion, Respect with our beloved animal brothers and sisters and with our fellow human beings. Treat them as you wish to be treated and you will be rewarded with Unconditional Love; and that my friends is ‘priceless’. No living being’s ‘worth’ should ever be equated to money.