Sunday, August 23, 2009

dog training is not for dogs

The reality of what actually goes on in a dog training class is the owner is trained on leadership skills. A credible trainer effectively demonstrates how willingly and spontaneously dogs follow the strongest influence in their life. They then educate the owner how to project that strength to their pet; hopefully in a positive reinforcement, punishment-free method.
Inherently, dogs follow strong leaders. They instinctively know, their survival and the survival of their pack depends on solid, stable and strong Alphas, be it male or female. It the owner is not the strongest member of their pack, their dog will run all over them, and take over.
The majority of frazzled individuals who call dog trainers are lacking the skills they need, to provide their puppy or dog with the leadership the dog must have, to know their place in their pack and yet feel safe and secure.
Without that, their dog will either instinctively become more assertive and eventually take over, or, they will do totally the opposite and withdraw, becoming untrusting and fearful.
During the first few weeks of a puppy's life, the first authority figure is their mother. She asserts that influence by teaching them litter manners. It is at this stage, a puppy learns to respect authority and leadership. Mom is their first Alpha figure.
As they grow and are weaned from mom, their own natural personality traits begin to evolve. Some show more assertiveness. They are what we consider "born leaders." The other puppies in their litter, as expected, would follow them. They are also the ones that most commonly resist, when a human take over role of the Alpha pack member.
Dogs can be "trained" at any age. However, the best time to begin is as soon as possible. Usually, at 8 weeks of age, most, unless they are extremely assertive, dominant pups, are prime for transferring that need to conform and follow to a new strong Alpha figure(s)...their humans! The most effective way to make that transition is to enroll them in Puppy Kindergarten or obedience class.
There, the owner learns to demonstrate even to the most dominant pup, they are worthy of trust and respect by being fair, firm, and consistent. To do this, they must make their pet earn everything they get. It is called 'NO FREE LUNCH!" Simply put, to get what you want, you must do what I want first.
The dog will soon associate if they want to eat, they must first follow your command. If they want to go out, they must first follow your command. The owner has asserted their authority by way of strong leadership. The dog responds eagerly and obediently. It's win-win.
Bottom line: There is a distinct difference between being mean and being firm. Always be fair, firm and consistent. You will be amazed how gladly your dog will follow you.
Karen A. Soukiasian, Good Dog! - Dog Training - Owner/Trainer, St. Augustine, Florida - AKC CANINE GOOD CITIZEN Evaluator
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