On Dog Training Rules
Links are provided to books mentioned below.
by Sharon Watson
They are for sale through
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Most of us train our dogs like we do our kids -- badly. We try real hard, we figure weíre smart enough for the job, and we do the best we can. We were going to buy a book or two, but never got around to it. There are parenting books, too. How many of us have read them? How many of us remember "the rules"? How many of us were able to APPLY the expert advice even if we did remember it -- for dog OR child? How many of us gave up and resorted to yelling and "mad whistling" -- and worse -- with one or the other of these small, unfortunate creatures?
There seems to require a stage of learning prior to the study of particular techniques or listening to "experts."
For dogs, that prior knowledge needed probably goes something like this:
1. Give the animal what it requires first and foremost: safety, security, food, respect, and affection.
2. Understand that as the child teaches the man, so does dog teach the master. There are things you can learn from each unique doggie personality.
3. Dogs do respond in human-like ways sometimes. They can dig in their paw- heels just as deep as we do when pushed.
4. But donít expect the dog to BE human.
5. You are actually teaching the dog even when you think youíre not. You are the Alpha "dog", and your dog is constantly looking to you for clues and cues.
6. Each dog trains differently. You must also watch for clues and cues from your dog. Some require a firmer hand, some do not. Some are late-bloomers and need to go slower. Some are too happy for a rigidly disciplined life. Some need to learn one or two things immediately and somehow very quickly. Some just need to be put out to pasture early in a loving environment. Some need kennels, some do definitely not. Itís a mix. Give them a little room for individuality, and enjoy that individuality.
7. Keep the dogís life (and yours) simple.
8. Realize fully that dogs as well as kids need lots of patient repetition in their training. Oh, and be consistent, for dogís sake! (All that obvious stuff that we somehow ignore.)
9. When youíve made a mistake, admit it. Apologize to your dog and anyone else who needs to hear it. Then back off completely for a while. Youíll have to start over REAL SLOW.
10. There is never only one technique, nor any hard and fast rules. Lighten up.
Dog breeder, and trainer, Lonn Kuck, of Boise, Idaho, says these are his favorite references (See the following book titles.) Lonn raises Braque du Bourbonnaisí. And I own one of his well-trained dogs. We call her, what Lonn came to call her: "Wierd Irma." And, I must apologize. We are not as good as Lonn. We do resort to mad-whistling at times.
Lonnís favorite dog-training books:
Expert Advice on Gun Dog Training by David Michael Duffey
Problem Gun Dogs: How to Identify and Correct Their Faults by Bill Tarrant
The Taining and Care of the Versatile Hunting Dog by Sigbot Winterhelt and
Edward D. Bailey (We were unable to locate a source for this title)
Tri-Tronics Retriever Training by Jim and Phyllis Dobbs with Alice
(You can order this title directly from Tri-Tronics. Yes, there are times when a dog needs electricity -- to be used with concern and caution and very carefully.)
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