Dog Behaviour Advice - Dog Advice Articles
Can anyone train my dog please?
For such an easy question as this one, you would think trainers would be standing in line to oblige to help all those owners who have never trained a dog before or do not have the time.
It is very easy for an experienced handler to take almost any dog and turn them into a highly obedience competition dog. The question asked by the majority of owners is this type of training what it is they actually want.
For nearly all dog-training clubs the competition standards normally dictate the training methods even if many owners have no interest in ever taking part. Competition is fun and helps improve the standard but fortunately, not all people are alike.
We do find though that there are many owners who wish someone could take their dog away and bring it back again fully obedience trained. For many, such a service could look like some sort of godsend.
The major problem is the vast majority of dog owners do not wish for competition obedience. The simple wish is to have an obedient non-aggressive dog as a companion in their real world. The question that owners ask most of the time is there such people who can help, how much does it cost and whether it work.
What ever type of training you can find for your dog no matter how good or how bad the trainer is when the dog returns it is normally trained to an acceptable standard but more often the method of training used still involves pain to achieve the end result because it seems quick. Not everyone wishes to train using this method.
Those of you who have been to training classes will know only too well that it is not the dog that receives the training but the handler. Only the other day an owner in France told me that they had more classes just for the owners than they have for the dogs. It was always emphasised it was for the owners to train away from the class not just use the class as the only training the dog received. How often owners came to our classes and you could see the dog had not had any other training at all during the week.
It therefore follows that anyone who sends a dog away for training will when the dog returns not have the necessary skills to maintain the dogs training and so over a few weeks the dog will become as it was before.
The only exceptions are where the owners already know how to train a dog but though wishing to have a dog they do not have the time to train one. It is possible that a trainer using the same sort of training understood by the owner that when the dog does returns they are competent enough to continue with the training.
This is a possible method but such training has a few problems of its own. The first is the dog is away from the owner for four to six weeks so the owner looses the important contact with their dog and this can loose some leadership necessary to maintain the sociable pack structure. Such lack of contact is similar to keeping a dog outside all the time with little human interaction. This can produce a dog that will wander or become destructive because it has little contact with anything or anyone.
I found that those owners that have been prepared to pay the price and then have discussed such training with us find that this lack of contact features highly in their decision whether they send their dogs away or not. The next worry is that the dog will revert to as it was and so all the money spent is effectively wasted.
So is training by another person always doomed to failure? A few weeks ago an owner telephoned me to ask my opinion of a course for sociability where the dog would be kept by a trainer for over a month and would return being well socialised. Well that is the theory. We have constantly been looking for good trainers and Behaviourist on the Costa Blanca and this is the first Spanish trainer we have found that is teaching sociability training.
The fact that the dog would be away for such a long time was a worry for us as well but the owner believed as she was having little success possibly such training seemed imperative. It was only after having an assessment class with us where she found she only needed to purchase a Sound CD and a Halti along with various methods of teaching sociability that should solve her dog’s current problems. We were therefore able to point the owner in the right direction for her own training of her dog that would give her an excellent probability of success.
As with our puppy training classes we also do sociability training for owners where we take their dog out for four hours a day about three times a week so they do not loose their owners contact. We do ask to keep the dog for at least one full day, as we like to take the dog to Vergel safari park. Here is the possibility for dogs to interact with many other types of animals. This is something many people never think of doing.
We have a very long list of things needed to show a dog in order to help it become more sociable. Whilst we are training them, we can also see where a dog may have some specific fear that needs confidence building or if it is over aggressive because of a lack of previous sociability training, we calm it down. We offer this sort of teaching because many owners do find their dogs need such training but they do not have the time to follow our recommendations and things are getting out of hand.
The question you maybe asking is why say not to send a dog away for training by someone else because it does not work and yet for sociability training it does. The reason it works is that it does not involve commands or training but is important not to lose owners contact. All we do is to introduce a dog to situations so that it becomes use to them. Some dogs do not like traffic or firework displays. Some are fearful of children or other dogs along with other animals prevalent in the dog’s home surroundings.
What we are doing is simply confront a dog with situations so they are simply desensitised to them so it learns to face them and act in an appropriate sociably manner. Because the dog remains in contact with the owner, the dog should react with them in the same way as it does with us given the same situations.
Apart from ourselves, we have not yet found anyone else who offers such a service. On the other hand, we have found many people who do dog walking but this often only consist of simply taking a dog to an open area for some exercise without facing problems head on. This could be because they do not know how to change the dog’s reactions to various situations. We all have to start somewhere so it is possible to take the dog walking service that one-step further and help owners correct situation problems for their dogs whilst walking them.
If anyone is providing this service and feels they would like to help owners with their dog’s sociability but lack the time to train themselves then please do contact us. We do provide training classes in sociability training so if this interests you to learn more so you can help owners in your area then this will improve sociability in more and more dogs in the future.