Look at me with my fancy cap and my diploma!
So we just had two of our Basic Good Manners classes graduate this week with one more graduating tonight. I love to see the difference that 6 weeks (well…more like 8 weeks with all of the snow and nasty weather creating postponements!) of dog training does to a dog or puppy. The first week, some of the dogs are a little worried or a little over-excited and have difficulty controlling themselves. By Graduation, they know the place, know the humans better and know each other a little more. It’s really cool to see the transformation. The human are much more relaxed too. They go from being a little uncertain of whether they can yield a clicker and treats correctly to training like a pro. Okay…maybe a little exaggeration, but MUCH better than the beginning!
I LOVE when people feel it is necessary and important to train their dogs. Training your dog is not only a really fun thing to do, it is so rewarding for both you and your dog. It helps your dog gain self confidence. Helps them gain self control. Makes them tired. Makes them easier to live with. They learn what the rules are to live with the family. We teach them what our words mean. How nice to be able to say “Leave it” to your dog and they don’t pick up that dead squirrel on the side of the road! It’s only because you’ve worked your butt off teaching him what those two words mean. You should feel proud. And happy that he does it. Nobody wants dead squirrels in their dog’s mouth. Blech…
So after your dog graduates from a basic class, does it all end there? Sadly, too often it does. Then we stop working on the things we learned and after a year, our dog has forgotten everything but Sit and Down. Don’t let this happen to you. At the very least, train with your dog to reinforce the behaviors that you learned in basic class. Train often. They love the training and it keeps those behaviors in their repertoire. I often have people that tell me their dog has been in basic classes before but failed. Well…I have to tell you, it’s not the dog that has failed. He was more than willing to keep on training and learning everything that he could possibly learn. You’re the one that has to do the training. If you don’t do the work necessary to continue his education, you both will fail. I know, it hurts. But it doesn’t have to be that way. You made a long term commitment to your dog when you got him. Make sure you take the time to let him be all that he can be. You will have a happy self confident dog for life.
There are many classes you can choose from. Of course, you always want to make sure you go to a positive trainer! You can go to an Intermediate class, a Trick class, Agility, Rally and Flyball, among others. Take the time to do it. Make the effort. Look into those little brown eyes and tell him you’re going to class. See how excited he is?
Of course, Unleashed Joy Dog Training provides purely positive training. We have Intermediate classes and Trick classes. If you want to do Agility or Rally, you can contact me and I’ll give you a reference to a positive trainer.