First Published "Who"s the Boss" 1996 and in this article 2010 CCC Magazine
The dog is a dog it doesn't need any training. I've had dogs before and I can handle it. I've got a big back yard, it'll be right. Why do I need to train it? It'll be ok.. These and many more preconceived ideas come to the minds of many people.
Did you know that the average age of a dog in Australia is three years old. That a dog grows approximately fifteen times faster than we do in the first year and ten times faster in the second year. That a dog sees moving objects at almost lightening speed. That their reflexes are much faster than ours. That a dog has only one thought in its conscious mind at a time and that his current conscious thought is changed instantly by a new sight, sound or smell.
Can you keep up with that?
That is why dogs get out of hand so quickly in the family home and many are euthanized in the first two years. How sad is that. A little more Education and this will cease to happen.
KEEPING YOUR NEW DOG OR PUP
Large or small, each dog is much better behaved if it is taken out into the big wide world which the pup or dog hasn't experienced yet. The earlier the better. Under good supervision and given the right information the dog and you will be better able to handle any situation that arises.
Dogs, of course, can be the greatest companions you will ever have. They ask for so little; food, a bed, a walk, care and understanding. These are the basic requirements for happiness together. Your dog or dogs will give you a lifetime of joy, companionship, loyalty, and sometimes security.
What a puppy learns between the ages of 8 to 16 weeks, forms the basis of its adult life. Good habits are formed during this time and future unwanted habits avoided. This young pup needs to experience different smells, noises, places, people, and the many shapes, sizes and smells of other dogs. The pup soaks up these new experiences like a sponge, and then stores them away for future peace of mind. The pup should not be allowed to over-react to any of these things or to anything else it encounters as a first experience in order to be able to handle them in the future without stress in its life.
OLDER AND STABLE DOGS
Older dogs are never too old to be taught. No matter how good they have been, they too can develop bad habits very quickly. We often underestimate the dogs ability to learn. Just moving house can be scarey for the dog and getting another dog can upset the balance. If you are not aware of what is going through the dog's mind then, very soon, you may find your dog has developed a whole set of new habits. Some of which are very much unwanted. He may be losing some of its hearing or sight. You need to check these things out with the older dog.
OUR UNDERSTANDING & LOVE OF OUR DOG
While this is happening we humans need to do our part. Understand why the dog does the things it does can come through intelligent training of the handler and other family members. Get your copy of Who's the Boss? and Are you still the Boss? The best Educational toolks around for you and your dog.
RESULT IS PEACE
A well trained and understood dog is a joy to own. It becomes an important part of any family. You can take a well trained dog anywhere you go. It doesn't chew up your plants, bite the children or annoy the neighbours by its barking A strong bond needs to be formed between dog and owner. It needs a Pack Leader an (Alpha) and this needs to be you.
If you are the Alpha (Top Dog), then the joy and harmony you will have with your dog will never cease to amaze you and your friends, and you, your dog, and your family will live a wonderful life together. Just be firm, consistent, constant Calm and confident. You don't have to yell, be aggressive, cruel, or overly dominant.
Good Luck with all of this.
Val Bonney (Canine behavioural Specialist / International Trainer)