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Many here probably know my dog and I train and compete in several dog sports but that’s not what this post is about.

This is for people who just want a well behaved pet dog, whether it’s a puppy or older dog.

I have a list in my head of behaviors that I would like my dog to have to make her an excellent dog. Behaviors like sitting by the front door and not running out when someone comes to the door or a package is outside and I have to bring it inside. When I got my dog, she was an adult. I also had three cats, two had health issues and all 4 pets were eating different food so meal time took awhile to prep and I wanted my bouncing, pawing, demanding new dog to lay down calmly and patiently until the cats were sorted out and I had the dog food ready. Not pulling on the leash was important and training my dog to step into her travel harness was too. I had others and I expect to have others when problems develop.

It took months to train most of these behaviors and there were times when I almost gave up because it was so annoying and depressing that it was taking so long. I want to encourage everyone to not give up. Never train when angry or not in the mood because your dog won’t learn under those circumstances. Keep it balanced positive. If something isn’t working, look for alternative methods...ask here or your trainers, check the internet or ask friends. You can always tweak a method to meet your dogs personality. Remember dog’s don’t generalize easily. Not going through my front door meant I also took her to many pet friendly stores where she had to sit and wait to be released into PetSmart, Lowe’s and PetCo. Getting her solid on this behavior was more work than I initially understood.

All the work going into making these behaviors rock solid pays off huge. I have a dog who will not run out the door for the rest of her life. I don’t have to spend 15 years worrying every time I open the door that she will run out. I do keep an eye on these behaviors and if they deteriorate I will immediately step into to train. Our not pulling on the leash is only 80% there because if she’s extremely excited she will still pull. The difference is she now when she does get excited and pulls, she stops at the end of her leash, thinks a moment then returns next to me to walk instead of just pulling and pulling and pulling. Maybe one day I’ll have that magical dog that always walks next to me and never pulls, maybe not but I can live with her current pulling. While most of these behaviors are perfectly performed, not every one is...this is a dog and real life nothing’s always perfection.

I want to encourage everyone to keep working on problem behaviors, don’t assume all are easily trained and don’t give up too early. The benefits are wonderful. Pat your self on the back and enjoy newly trained behaviors.
 

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Well said Skylar. We don't talk about this sort of stuff often enough. We usually talk about how to fix problems with "pets" when the way better thing to do is prevent them in the first place.


Our dogs are pets, but also performance dogs (actively for the poodles and retired for Peeves). They need door manners, leash manners and all the other things pets need plus many other things. They take a long time and have to be done thoughtfully since we want them to be correct and rock solid, but the other end of it is you don't have to commit to an hour a day in a block. You don't even need an hour over the course of a day. Five or so minutes several times a day actually will work better. Make your puppy or dog earn their meals by having them do sits and downs and having them wait to be released to their food. Have them wait at the door to be released to go out. Have the dog sit outside the door and wait to be released to come back in. Train your dog to potty on command and then use play as a reward for having taken care of business efficiently. Play It's Yer Choice while you watch TV or do a round of crate games during the commercial break.


All of this is important but it also can be easy and fun. Your dog will be happier having clear expectations on its behavior. You will be happier since your dog will be a good dog. And the best thing of all is your relationship will be transformed to a deeper and more meaningfully bonded relationship because you will be like dance partners who look beautiful together because you dance as one being.
 

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I needed this post. I just got my current pup and had to have the hard awakening that he is not my last Spoo. He is sweet and lovely and means well but we just met and he is learning.

My last Spoo had mind reading powers I swear and I never really had to tell him “no” more than once. Some of the things I used to train my last Spoo, my current Spoo doesn’t respond to or couldn’t care less.

It’s frustrating at times having a new pup. But I guess you could say we are both learning how to communicate with eachother.

Anyhow, thank you for posting this. It was right on time- and I’ll keep this is mine as I enter the teenage pup time with him


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Good idea for a post. I agree that we don't talk about some of these things enough. This is just what I like to talk about. lol. Oh no...(she's on a rampage...gonna be another one of her long posts.) No, I promise it won't be. I think.

There are certain behaviors that are important to some people and not to others. Everything I've trained my dogs to do is connected or relevant to our life style. It's not to suit anyone else. Matisse is the only dog I've ever shown in anything, although I use to do classes of various sorts with my Dobe. But the dogs I have now I just want as pets. I'm not super particular about a lot of things. I have a relatively high tolerance for some behaviors others may not go for. But there are a few things that I insist on and have trained. One of my absolute least favorite things is pulling on a leash. I don't care if my dog is 4 or 90 lbs. I hate that with a passion. So, I always set to work right away and teach nice loose leash walking.

Another is pestering for food. So I give hand-outs ONLY when the dog isn't bugging me or staring at me. It can be while I'm eating. They get it.

Safety issues: Rushing out the door. Big, big, huge deal to me. So threshold training has been a must.

More safety issues: A good recall in all kinds of circumstances, stay "on the trail" for hiking and a good stay. Wait, leave it, drop it...those kinds of things are vital.

Tricks and fun things: Just for fun and brain work.

I'm sure I've forgotten some things that are important but I promised not too long a post. I don't care about a perfect heel or other things since I'm not competing but I do care about a dog who is a joy to live with and suits my life style.

I think sometimes new dog owners are not sure what they want, who they want to please, what they want the dog to be used for etc. So first determine that and then go about making a training plan.

Sorry...it was kind of long, wasn't it. But there are lots of spaces for paragraphs. Right?:eek:
 

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I needed this post. I just got my current pup and had to have the hard awakening that he is not my last Spoo. He is sweet and lovely and means well but we just met and he is learning.

My last Spoo had mind reading powers I swear and I never really had to tell him “no” more than once. Some of the things I used to train my last Spoo, my current Spoo doesn’t respond to or couldn’t care less.

It’s frustrating at times having a new pup. But I guess you could say we are both learning how to communicate with eachother.

Anyhow, thank you for posting this. It was right on time- and I’ll keep this is mine as I enter the teenage pup time with him


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
I relate to this so well. I actually have to check myself sometimes, as I know that my puppy memories of my beloved girl are hazy at best and probably more than a little rosy. She was a mind reader in her adult years, absolutely. And I could read her, too. It was an incredible bond that I'll cherish forever. But we had our own bumps and obstacles to overcome. And she had limitations that perhaps Peggy won't have. I must remain open to the chance for positive differences between them, too.

I appreciate this whole conversation very much, and the timing couldn't have been more perfect, as I'm sitting here feeling just so TIRED.

At 4 months, and only 2 months into our relationship, Peggy has more to learn than I can comfortably wrap my head around. But her "wait" and release are mostly excellent. She unexpectedly blew me away yesterday with consistent "drop it" after "drop it." (And she looked so pleased with herself each time!!) And she's up for the challenge of every activity I conjure up for her.

I should be nothing but encouraged.
 

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Don't give up whether you have a puppy or an adult dog. I probably skimped on early training and now there are some situations that Asta really dislikes (grooming for instance) I only started training him to help me in psychiatric needs when he was 4 years old. I am in great gratitude that so many of our excellent trainers here on the forum encourage me in shaping Asta's behaviors and training new and novel things. Their insights are incredible.
If Asta can be trained to help me at 4 years old, your adult dog can be trained too. I never thought Asta was to be my service dog, I just picked the traits I wanted in companion dog - Now he is so much more.
 

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Training is best done in very small doses. I usually train using my dog’s food at breakfast and supper. I might pull out treats at other times for a quick session. I will train when running errands in a store or while walking in the park - again a short session. Poodles don’t do well grilling something over and over again. If I’m training anything over a long period, I break it up to small sessions and switch around what I’m training.

I’ve always loved this comment “amateurs practice piano until they get a new piece right, professional musicians practice till they cannot get it wrong “. For any skill or behavior you want to train in your dog you have to train like a professional musician. That training takes time and patience. Don’t give up if you know it’s an important skill your dog needs.
 

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One of the really important things I took away from the workshop on utility and open proofing Javelin and I attended this weekend was to keep serious formal training very short and to the point and to inject lots of games into the whole process. For example take the broad jump. The first time I had Javelin set up for it he didn't take the jump (he is sometimes wary of it in places he isn't used to, need to fix that since there are no do overs in trials) so I collected him and made sure he would think it was going to get him something fun by dropping a piece of cheese out just past where I knew he would land. Normally I wouldn't throw a chunk of cheese on the floor I would put it on a target so he doesn't think he can go over the jump and go on a cheese hunt on the floor, but I was working on the fly and had to improvise. I made sure he knew exactly that there was only once piece of cheese to claim. Then I took him back and reset him and sent him. He got his cheese. I set him up and sent him again. Instead of doing a formal front and finish I released him to a jump up to make having taken the jump and not found a chunk of cheese still fun and rewarding. The next one had a formal front and finish and the last one had a jump up, no front or finish. Then leash on and leave the ring, session over.
 

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I’ve always loved this comment “amateurs practice piano until they get a new piece right, professional musicians practice till they cannot get it wrong “. For any skill or behavior you want to train in your dog you have to train like a professional musician. That training takes time and patience. Don’t give up if you know it’s an important skill your dog needs.
Or until they get the worst tendonitis of their life. Did that practicing the piano for a wedding something like 10-12 hours a day for a month or two years ago, complete ruination of my wrists for a long time. So, yep...practice, practice training but not all at once. Little snatches with your dog here and there because they can get sour if it's drill, drill, drill. (they probably won't get tendonitis though) :act-up:
 
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