“I want an obedient dog.” I hear this statement 20 times a month. People come to me and want me to magically turn their dog into a super dog. But before I can do this I need to understand what they mean.
I want an obedient dog:
I want a dog who I can ignore all day but will still do what I say
I want a dog that is invisible in my life until I want to play with it
I want a dog that doesn’t take any work, but will obey my every command
I want a dog who will life in a crate or kennel 23.5 hours of the day and show no stress or frustration when let out
I want you to stop my (working dog, herding dog, fast dog) from acting like a (working dog, herding dog, fast dog) and lay around the house and like everyone.
My working dog tries to (herd everyone, attack everyone, chase everything). I don’t want it to act like a working dog anymore
How to Create an Obedient Dog
Dogs need exercise, mind stimulation, training, and a good diet to be a good dog. But make sure it is something your dog wants to do. I’ve talked to lots of reactive dog owners who want to force their dog to take walks, instead of driving them to the dog park at 6am before everyone else arrives and letting the dog have a good run.
If your dog does not enjoy walks then play fetch in the back yard. Take the dog for a swim at a dog friendly beach.
- Vet Care
Different studies attribute 33% – 45% of all bites to pain. Dog’s cannot tell you it is in pain. It cannot tell you that something is wrong. I’ve seen dogs do a 100% turn around in their behavior after they receive help for old injuries, health issues, or allergies.
- Reduce Stress
One of the best ways to reduce stress is to exercise your dog. But you also need to teach your dog how to handle stress. It is not difficult to build coping mechanisms. Your dog needs to learn that it shouldn’t chase squirrels, or bark at other dogs, or pull when walking. All of these things increase stress.
- Don’t endure marathon training sessions
It may be easier for you to train for 30 minutes when you get home. You may even find it is therapeutic. But don’t be surprised if ‘obedience’ becomes an aggravation for your dog. Obedience is a lifestyle. Break the training segments down to 2 – 3 minutes, several times a day.
- Obedience is a Way of Life
You enroll your puppy in an 8 week course at 10 weeks old and have a perfect dog for the rest of its life. There are many skills that your dog is developmentally just ‘not ready’ for until 15 – 24 months old.
Behind every perfectly trained dog is hundreds of hours of training. When people ask me ‘how long do I need to practice’ or ‘how long do I need to give treats’ then I answer, ‘for the life of the dog.’
Some people are lucky and get that dog who just doesn’t care. It will walk quietly, lay down all day, and never even think about taking the roast off the counter. Others have a wonderful dog who is full of love, energy, and joy. We need to ‘shape’ this dog’s behavior into something we consider ‘obedience.’ If the dog fails, then we failed. If your dog reverts back to destructive or aggressive behavior then it is because we let our dog down.
I want to leave you with one last truth:
“You get back from a dog what you put into a dog”