By Terry Jester
I can take my dogs just about anywhere. I’m not embarrassed by their behaviors. I have taken the time and trouble necessary to teach my dogs the three basics – walk on a loose leash, wait at doors, and come when called.
These are three sets of behaviors that all dogs should know. They are the minimum. These behaviors insure a respectful, attentive, trustworthy, companion and not just a nuisance with a leash attached.
Most dogs love going places. They don’t care if they’re going to the store, the post office, or dropping the kids off at school, they want to go. It’s a break in their otherwise fairly routine, somewhat boring, always predictable day. So, who can blame them? It’s natural for a dog to want to be with their pack, in this case, the family.
It is unnatural for a dog to be alone. Some manage solitude with resignation and dignity. Others make it very plain that isolation is problematic – they bark, they dig, they chew up the house.
The solution? Teach your dog the basics. Get the help you need in order to be able to take your dog with you when the opportunity arrives.
I got a phone call from a woman recently who wanted to take her dog to a dog training class but was literally afraid to because she didn’t think she could safely get her huge, ill-mannered Lab mix to the car and then to the class without potentially incurring great bodily harm.
Her dog had a penchant for dragging her everywhere and they lady was afraid she would slip on the ice, lose the dog, cause a wreck, make a fool out of herself, etc. She was embarrassed that the problem had gotten so big and she didn’t know what to do.
Easy, I said. One private lesson and her dog arrived at her dog training class on a loose leash and ready to learn. It really can be that simple.
I would love to see more people taking their dogs with them on walks, bike rides, hikes, and jogs. They deserve it.
If a lack of training is keeping you from fully enjoying your dog, and keeping your dog from fully enjoying life, then do something about it.
Join a dog training class. Hire a private trainer if needed for a session or two so you can get your dog going in the right direction.
Make a resolution. There are classes starting everywhere in January. I’ve got classes starting every month. There are no excuses.
Give your dog a happy new year. Take him with you.
Terry Jester is a nationally recognized expert on companion animal behavior. She is regarded by The Humane Society of the United States as being, “Humane and effective in dealing with problem pets and their owners." Connect with Terry on her website.