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I want a well mannered dog!

written by Jeanette Hargreaves

A dog that has manners and listens well is a pleasure to be around. While some dogs are much easier to train than others, all dogs can benefit from a little training. Most of our club member’s dogs get out to new places at a very early age, start early with basic puppy training and continue learning & trying new things for years. We often get compliments about how well behaved our dogs are.

With the advent of Covid MANY people have adopted or purchased dogs. Some of these dogs have received training while others have had very little. Some of these dogs were ill suited for the families that adopted them. They may have expected a quiet calm dog and received a high energy combo of working breeds. Puppies are cute but they go through the teen stage and sometimes become unruly & sometimes out of control. We often get calls for help when dogs have developed bad habits and those dogs must now be taught new better behaviours. How much easier would it be to develop good habits early on?

Many dogs need to be taught self control and to listen to their owner. Most people want a dog that walks properly on leash & comes when you call him- both of these exercises are much easier to train when the puppy is young. It is much harder to retrain when you have taught the dog that he doesn’t have to listen.

Most training is basic common sense. If a dog is doing something wrong teach him an alternative behaviour. A STAY is a good alternative to jumping up on people & things or racing out the door! Teach your dog to walk on a loose leash BEFORE YOU allow him to pull you down the street. Don’t let your dog off leash if he would rather not come to you. A dog learns what it can get away with very early on.

Training a dog requires some basic knowledge of Canine learning and an understanding of the methods one is using. Help the dog understand what you are asking - luring the dog into a position is one example. Set the dog up for success. Don’t make the exercise so hard that the dog is doomed to fail - start with little steps so that the dog can succeed. If the dog KNOWS the word sit - don’t ask him two, three or five times! He likely understands your hand signal before he understands the word. Patience is a virtue - one that will help you succeed when dog training.

Dogs communicate non-verbally. If we humans learn to communicate clearly with our dog there’s a good possibility they will respond well to our requests. Being consistent is far less confusing to our dog. He doesn’t understand why he can jump up on you to say hello, but not on your grannie or the kids next door. If you don’t teach your dog to wait at the door when he comes in or goes out you can’t expect him to wait calmly when someone knocks & you open the door. Training needs to happen in the dogs every day life.

In our basic Beginners obedience classes the instructors will teach you to train your dog to walk properly on your left side in the heel position, to sit, stand, down & stay as well as come when called. Most dogs learn these exercises while practicing at home. Some dogs can’t listen or even think when around distractions. Those dogs may need extra help.

Our puppy class is for babies between 3 & 5 months. We teach you to help your dog learn about self control & settle, name recognition, basic commands such as sit, wait, down, stand, come, grooming basics & answer any of the puppy questions owners may have.

Our CGN Class is a manners class with numerous distractions that would help to prepare a dog for pet visitations in various settings. We teach you to train your dog to sit, down, stand, stay, come on command to greet strangers properly. This class will prepare a dog & their handler for the Canine Good Neighbour test should they decide to take the test at a later date.

Jeannette Hargreaves

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