When we think of a domestic dog it is easy for us to imagine an animal walking contentedly at its owner’s side, watching their every move, and acting upon every command, perhaps even to cruft’s standard

When we think of a domestic dog it is easy for us to imagine an animal walking contentedly at its owner’s side, watching their every move, and acting upon every command, perhaps even to Cruft’s standard. So why is this image not always the case?

All domestic dog breeds originated from the wolf and, as such, hunt and interact in packs with each breed needing a pack leader – or Alpha Dog.

The pet dog – especially single animals within the family – will need to be influenced by another pack leader; its owner. As such, an owner, in training their dog can have a huge influence on the acceptable behaviour of the animal.

However, the skills required by a dog owner to teach a dog right from wrong have to be learned. An owner’s perception of what is, or is not good dog behaviour will vary from person to person and may, to some degree, depend upon the breed of dog. After all, there is a magnitude of difference between a poodle and, say, a Rottweiler, is there not? Well, at a base level no, not really. They all respond to the pack leader. So, the level of behaviour of the dog will be entirely dependant upon the level of training from its human owner. I’m not talking about the specialist, breed-specific skills, but more the basic interaction skills between human and dog.

We all know the Labrador to be great guide and assistance dogs, but when they are poorly trained (for general domestic use) like any other breed they can be dangerous. Years ago when I was delivering milk for a living, an owner walking his Yellow Labrador was pulled off his feet as his dog launched itself sank its teeth into me. This was on a public thoroughfare and so could not be attributed to the animal’s instinct to protect its owner on its patch. Supposing it had been a child the dog had attacked?

A Labrador, for example, needs a lot of physical exercise to keep it from becoming over boisterous. They are a very supple, muscular animal and have to be handled with a firm grip. So, in general, training a dog to be kept on a short leash when out for a walk along the public street helps to ensure it knows its role within the ‘pack’. If it is given free-reign to run ahead then the owner – the Pack leader – will not have control of the animal.

Since owning a dog is expensive, it may well be worth the time and money to enrol at a local dog training school where both human and dog will be taught as a team. So, in summary, when you are looking to get a dog – whatever the breed – do your homework about it, know its in-bred characteristics and temperament.

At the end of the day, if your dog is not trained thoroughly enough then all you are going to do is get a bad reputation as a handler, and a bad name for your breed of dog, possibly even a ban.

Labrador training

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