Wednesday, March 04, 2015

So you want a dog?

My friend blogger over at Dancing Donkey wrote an excellent blog about how she has taught her dog Conner how to stay close to her and not run off.

Responsibility Training is the title of it.
If you are thinking of getting a dog or a pup, go read it.

There is nothing worse than a dog who doesn't want to stay with you when they are off leash.
Chasing your dog all of the time is not fun as an owner, although it may be a lot of fun for your dog.

She explains about how she took Connor for walks as soon as she got him home.
How as a pup he tired out and she carried him.

I never thought of it as training, but I've done that with all the hound dog pups and our house dogs ever since I can recall.

Of course Morris would be a shining example of that.

He went everywhere with me as a pup.
I even devised a way to carry him.

And there is Dixie here at 12 weeks old.  I'd waited until she wasn't paying attention and then I ran and hid behind a log.

I didn't make it hard and she was so thrilled to 'find' me!  It became a game.

She and Morris both come with a sharp whistle on the fly.  As if no other creature in the world is important.

Well, that is, unless there is something delicious for Morris to roll in!

I have some neighbors that I love dearly.
They got one older dog.
He was very nice, but was a wanderer.

They lost him a few times.  Got him out of the 'pound' a few times.  
Two years ago he wandered off and got injured.  Some good Samaritan took him to the vet's office.  He was taken care of and put up for adoption.
He was adopted by a nice family.

Then our neighbor found him and once again paid a huge price to get him back.

Finally they got a collar with an electric fence.  Old dog stayed home as long as his collar was working.
But no one in the family interacted with him.  He was left mostly on his own to wander his little territory.  His humans fed him and the children watched him not trusting him.  He was large and they were small.  
Old dog started to seem down.

So Neighbors thinking they were nice, got him a puppy.
Puppy and old dog now spend time with their collars on seeking out things to shred within their electric area.

Neighbors called a trainer to come in and help with the Young Dog.  He was knocking kids down, jumping on people, and grabbing the children's hands.  
To the trainer's credit, she said the Neighbors must work with Young Dog daily. Exercise Young Dog, walk with Young Dog.

Yesterday as I left for work I saw Young Dog wandering down the gravel road, he saw my car and gave chase.
I stopped and checked to see if he was okay.  His electric collar was torn in half.
He sat politely when I asked him to.

I called Neighbor and informed her that Young Dog was on the loose and I had to go to work.

She said she'd try and find him as she was in town picking up her daughter from school.


When I was a young mom I got a puppy that turned into a shoe eating, plant digging, jumping on everyone nutcase, that would slam through the front door if someone opened it...

When I took her to the Vet to get neutered, he told me to take Missy to Obedience School.
And I did.
And we worked at it for 10 weeks of basic training.
It took time and effort.  Much like the training of any animal takes.

In the end I had a dog that would heel off leash and could walk through a crowd of people, children, and dogs and ignore everything but me.

I could use hand signals to make her stay, come, lay down, and other useful things.
Most of all, she became a very calm quiet dog once she had a daily job.

Dogs need a job, they need attention.  They cannot learn good behavior by osmosis.  It doesn't just come to them.
It is hard work to get a good dog, it is harder work to get a Great Dog.

Oh and if you read this far?
Same principals apply to donkeys and mules.
Good hard work.
I still have my weekly assignments from the early 1980's dog obedience class.
Guess what?
It really applies well to equine training also.

I did some research and the class I took in 1983 [I think] was a mix of the Koehler Method and the Chicago area Shepherd House, The Foundation for Applied Studies of Animal Behavior.


Lori Skoog said...

Great and informative post. I'm with you 100%. And of course, the Dancing Dog blogger also has tons of great scoop. I firmly believe that teaching your dog to come (off leash)when called could very likely save it's life someday. My girl Phoebe went through 3 obedience classes and then became a Canine Good Citizen and Therapy Dog. Boy, did we learn a lot. If you are going to have a dog and do not invest through good care and attention, you can't expect much back. They are so innocent and sweet, I feel terrible when they are ignored.

Lori Skoog said...

Oooooppppps! I meant the Dancing Donkey!!!!!! Sorry about that. Guess I was stuck on dogs.

Val Ewing said...

Absolutely! I agree with you Lori!
Morris never went to obedience school as there is nothing around this area at all, but I did work with him on many things.
He could have used a lot of leash training!

Lori Skoog said...

My dogs are off leash 99% of the time and get very excited when they see me getting their leashes out, as it means we must be going somewhere special.

Gucci, my second rescue pup, has not participated in classes of any kind, but she gets it and is a very quick study. I try to apply what I've learned.