Friday, January 16, 2009


Dad took me to the woods again over the weekend. I just love it there. On the way around we occasionally bump into other dogs and people and it surprises me how differently the behaviour of some are.

Take for example one dog we ran into. A lovely big German Shepherd male. He was safely on his lead and his walker pulled him off the path a little so we could pass. Seeing this dad called me over and I slipped my head into my chain. You can spot the nervous dog walker a mile away - the ones who are either scared of a big rottweiler, or worried how their dog will react.

As we walked past the person kept saying "Be good, be good, be good" to his dog. I'm sure that was confusing for the dog. As we passed the dog jumped and snarled at me and we just walked past quietly. The owner was obviously in need of some training - a dog that size must know how to behave, but equally the owner should know how to treat his dog to behave.

The "Be good, be good, be good" means nothing to the dog. The owner should simply get used to correcting his dog when it makes a mistake. Don't try to coerce it before hand. Standing there acting nervous only makes the dog nervous. The dog reacts to the owners state of mind and assumes his pack leader is scared, so he should be too.

Now this was no great incident, no clash of jaws or other. But it just goes to show how a little training with a professional, for both dog and master, could significantly change their relationship and behaviour.

So if you have a dog - any size of dog, take it to a training school. You can read all the books, watch all the videos but believe me when I say, you can't beat a live school. You'll get to meet other dogs in different stages of training - so you can assess how successful the school is. Your dog will also benefit from regular socialisation. You also get a real person correcting you, not your own interpretation of what a book or video says.

They are called dog schools out of convenience only. What they should be called is Dog AND Human schools. The owner is equally trained about their behaviour, if not more so.

Lastly - it's also very cheap, really! For 10 lessons, dad paid £35 - £3.50 per lesson. A real bargain for an hour of a professional and experienced dog handler.

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