CookieBear is back! Sebastian really enjoyed getting to speak his mind last week and he appreciated the comments and likes. He will return soon for a new segment we are working on together: Movie Reviews!
This week I want to talk about training. This will be an ongoing topic as I believe it is really important to your pet’s well-being and safety. It also improves your relationship with your pet. Training isn’t something that happens overnight and, this may surprise some people, but dogs don’t usually come to you already trained. We’re just like human babies: you have to show us where to go to the bathroom, what to eat, how to behave, etc. Mom thinks if more time was devoted to training pets there would be a lot fewer homeless animals and shelters would not be full of dogs that someone gave up on. I have to say I agree with her. I’m pretty sure someone had me as their “pet” before Desert Paws found me, but they gave up on me for some reason (I was only a baby so I can’t remember). That’s OK because I found the right forever home but not all dogs are so lucky. Soooo . . . . for anyone deciding to get a pet please look into how you’re going to train them. For anyone thinking about surrendering a pet because of “behavioral” issues please consider training first. You’d be surprised at how easily and quickly those behavioral issues can go away with the right training done consistently.
There are a lot of different ways to train dogs and I don’t think any one technique is the right way. The key is to find out what your dog responds to and then stick with it. Consistency is the most important factor in training your dog. It doesn’t have to be complicated or take a long time. Once you learn the skills incorporate them into your daily life with your pet. Here are some things that worked for me & Mom:
Mom is naturally curious and likes to read up on things. The first thing she found helpful after she adopted me was this book:
This book helped Mom a lot because it didn’t just talk about how to train a dog. It went into detail about how our minds work and what motivates us based on our instincts. Cool, huh? It talks about how there are 3 main drives behind dog behavior: Prey, Pack, and Defensive. There’s even a quiz to help you figure out your dog’s main drive. Mom found out that my main drive is Pack. I love to be with my Pack. That’s good news for Mom because it means I want to be with her (Dad too) and that I have good listening skills. My secondary drive turns out to be Prey, which means I need games and playtime that will satisfy that need (like fetch or searching out treats in the house) so I will be less likely to chase Sebastian or any animals I see outside. I appreciate the fact that Mom took the time to learn how my brain works and how to speak my language. If you’re working on training a dog and you don’t feel like you’re making progress ask yourself if you understand them before you ask if they understand you.
The book used very approachable language so Mom could read through it quickly and get back to paying attention to me, which is of course more important than sticking her head in a book!
Mom also was very fortunate because the organization that rescued me, Desert Paws NM, set her up with training classes in Albuquerque at Acoma Training Center. That’s where Mom got a lot of hands-on experience and really learned everything she needed for my own safety as well as basic obedience. I also learned a lot and became a much more self-assured confident doggie! Now I don’t get so nervous every time I meet a new dog at the park (except for the really big dogs sometimes because I’m just a little shorty). Mom likes the class so much she’s helping some of the Desert Paws NM rescue dogs do training there so they will already have a lot of skills by the time they are adopted.
Another great training resource that’s FREE is YouTube. There are lots of training channels, but Mom & I like Zak George’s Dog Training rEvolution best so far. It’s approachable and easy to follow. The videos are short and only cover one topic at a time. They are great for a novice or anyone needing a refresher on training.
The last thing I want to say about training this week is that it’s more important than just making your dog sit and come to you when you want. Training can save your pet’s life. You can train your dog not to pick dangerous things like chocolate or aspirin up from the floor. You can train your dog not to jump out of your car and into traffic. You can train your dog not to jump on a child, or bark at someone and scare them. It’s so important to get the foundations down as soon as possible and then continue training on a consistent basis. I’ll go into more detail on specific training topics in the weeks to come.
Now let’s move on to this week’s adoption spotlight at Desert Paws NM!
This week I want to introduce you to a pair of really fantastic ladies: Hope and Lillie. These two are bonded and Desert Paws wants to keep them together. They went through the training course at Acoma Training Center and learned a lot of skills. These ladies are also famous: a movie was even made about them. Watch their story here:
Learn about these fun-loving ladies at Desert Paws NM.
One more thing before I sign off. Desert Paws NM is funded 100% by donations. If you happen to shop on Amazon.com please click the Shop At Amazon link at the top of my homepage. Every time you shop through this link a portion of your purchase will be donated to Desert Paws NM. You can make regular purchases- there is no added cost to you.
Thanks for reading! Be sure to comment with a topic you would like to read about next time.