My dog is trained, Now what?

So you have gotten your dog obedience trained.  What do you do now?  Many people get their dogs trained and then seem to forget that they can apply the training in many different ways.  Sure now you can go for your regular walks without getting your shoulder ripped out when you pass by another dog walking. And your dog does not obsessively jump on you and your family.  But what about all those other commands??  At Aim High K9 we added a place command to our basic package.  We believe the place is an extremely useful command.  The place is simply a bed, blanket, or cot that you point to and tell them “place” .  They are to remain there untill you release them from the place.    So here are a few times you can use your place command to really get the best out of it.

1. When you are preparing dinner, have them on a place across the kitchen

2. When you are cleaning the house put them on their place.

3.  When company comes over.

4.  When having a large family dinner.

5.  When changing the baby.

6.  When the doorbell rings and it’s the UPS guy.

7.  When traveling or staying at a friends house or hotel.

8.  When doing laundry.

9.  When watching tv.

10.  When another dog is visiting.

11.  If your dog likes to chew on things when you are not paying attention, you can put them on a place in the same room as you with a toy they can chew.

Another command that seems to be under utilized is the come command.  We teach dogs either an on leash come command or an off leash recall.  Lots of dogs will do well with an on leash command and transition to an off leash come.  But some are a little more stubborn and need the extra insurance of a solid off leash recall.  There are the obvious times you can use the recall.  If you don’t have a fenced in yard you can use it, or if you like to take your dog to the park or out hiking.  But there are other times that a come command can be very useful.

1.  Say you use a crate for your dog and you have a routine in the morning when getting ready for work.  Your dog learns your routine and knows when it is time to get in the crate before you leave.  Instead of chasing them around the house or trying to lure them into the crate with treats you can use your recall to just call them to you while you are standing outside their crate.

2.  If you have a dog that likes to counter surf and you are in the living room and they go into the kitchen while you are watching a movie.  You think they may be trying to get into something.  You can use your recall to call them back into the room with you to keep them from getting into trouble.  Then you can put them on a place 🙂

3.  If you travel with your dog and friends or family do not have a fenced in yard your dog can still have the freedom to run and play in a strange place.

4.  When the doorbell rings unexpectadly and your dog runs to the door barking.  They have done their job of letting the person on the other side of the door know a dog lives here.  You can instead of going to the door and trying to open it with your dog right there. Or trying to pull them away from the door you can recall them to you and then put them in a stay or on a place.

5.  If your dog likes to take things from around the house and play “catch me if you can” while they have something in their mouth you can use the recall to get them to come to you and then drop whatever it is they have before they destroy it or get hurt.

6.  If you enjoy going to the dog park and letting your dog run and exercise with other dogs, but when it is time to go home they are still running and playing you can use the recall to get them back to you to put their leash on.

These are just a few examples of ways you can use some obedience in your everyday life.  Overall having your dog trained makes it easier to get along with them and communicate with them.  Now you can enjoy time with your dog!!

Choosing a Trainer?

There always seems to be great debates going about clients choosing a trainer and program for their dog.  I will say this…. there is no perfect method or perfect trainer.

To me training is about always being open to new methods and constantly learning about what other trainers are doing.   I have had clients come to Aim High K9 for a visit and have been very happy when we explain our training programs.  Some people will come for a visit and then say that they would like to do clicker training with their dog.  If I can I will actually recommend to them a trainer that will better suit what they are looking for.

When you are considering getting your dog trained you need to think about the goals you have for you and your dog.  Do you want a dog with some good house manners, but no time to do the training yourself?  Do you want to participate in the training with your dog.  Are you interested in group classes or do you learn better in a one on one setting?  In all of these instances you can find a trainer that can best fit your needs.  Within the realm of training you have many options.

Inboard– you leave your dog with the trainer and they train your dog.

Group lessons– you bring your dog to a group class usually 1x a week for so many weeks.

Private lessons– you work with a trainer one on one with your dog, either at a training facility or at your home.

Once you decide how you want your dog trained it is a good idea to meet with the trainer and ask them about their method for training.  Feel free to ask them how they will train your dog and what rewards and or punishments they will use.  Also ask them what they recommend for training equipment and if it will be included in the training or if you will need to purchase it.  Have the trainer explain the type of equipment they use and why.  Even the difference between using a nylon slip collar, a buckle collar, choke chain, pinch collar, gentle leader, e-collar, or martingale can sometimes be confusing if you don’t understand how they work.

There is a wide variety of training methods that trainers use.  I am not a trainer who is stuck on one single method being the only way to train a dog.  Not all dogs are the same and a good trainer will know how to adjust to your dogs specific needs.  Some trainers will train in a purely positive or motivational way.  This means they will use treats a lot and do not use any type of correction.  Other trainers will use clickers and mark behaviors and reward with treats.  Still others will take a middle of the road approach and use a combination of reward and correction. There are some trainers who exclusively use the e-collar in their training.   The only method that I as a trainer will warn people away from is a trainer who uses pure compulsion.  This means they will start out correcting the dog before teaching what they want.  When the dog performs the command the correction will stop.  Using pure compulsion is often referred to as “Old School”  and was used for a long time before motivational training came along.

If a trainer is not willing to explain their methods or give you a demonstration, then beware.  In the end you need to feel comfortable either working with the trainer or with leaving your dog with them to be trained.