For all pet parents!
More often than not, it’s the pet parent who needs training, not the pet.
I inadvertently taught my lab to jump on guests by saying“down, down!” and then giving him a treat when he stopped jumping. In his mind, “jump, down, treat” has been forever linked as the pattern that ultimately gets him his reward. Now I am trying o dissuade him from the “jump” part of the pattern, which isn’t easy.
Had I been trained in the ways of Labrador thinking, I could have avoided emphasizing the wrong behavior. That is what dog school is all about – training pet parents just as much as training the pet.
Based on that thought, here are a few tips for choosing a doggie school – and PLEASE – chime in and reply if you have other tips:
1) The key is attendance. Don’t play hookey. Choose a class schedule that will work with your other activities. Try to get all members of the family to attend.
2) Focus on the POSITIVE. Choose a trainer/instructor that shares your philosophy of positive reinforcement, not negative. Just like human children, our furry kids can be scarred – emotionally – for life.
3) Both parents and even other family members should attend class, because the key is consistency. Be sure and check with your instructor about how many family members can/should attend.
4) Get references. Choosing doggie school should be just like choosing a pre-school. If there is a wait list, WAIT or plan ahead and get signed up before your dog is ready to attend.
5) Set up play dates with other pet parents and their pets. All school and no play is no fun! Plus, you can review and reinforce what you have learned.
6) Finally, ENJOY yourself and make doggie school a time that everyone looks forward to and enjoys!
Other tips? Please add or share your experience with doggie school.