Finally your little bundle of furry sweetness has plumped the numbers in your family

Finally your little bundle of furry sweetness has plumped the numbers in your family. You have dreams of a well-behaved pup that is a joy to spend time with and never, ever does those classic doggy behaviors such as jumping on strangers, humping your mother-in-law’s leg, or running into traffic. You know the best way to combat the mischievous mind of a growing puppy is to train him to behave the way you want. He is already registered for puppy kindergarten and you know that Basic Obedience is in your future. But what about beyond sit and stay? It is hard to see that far in the future but the reality is most people stop training their dog after passing Basic Obedience and they wonder why their dog does not listen, develops inappropriate behaviors, or worse, is entirely out of control.

The Advantages of Advanced Obedience Classes

Would you pull your child from school after conquering the alphabet in grade one? Or maybe after struggling through beginner’s algebra in grade eight? Simple answer: not on your life! So why would you stop your dog’s training just as they begin to understand the simple concepts of Basic Obedience? Sure, he performs his ‘sit’ on command and his ‘stay’ is almost entirely perfect during class but what about at the dog park or when dinner is being prepared?

Basic obedience is only the first step in a lifetime of obedience and manners. The concepts taught are meant to be practiced outside of class and then built on through additional training. Go back to the grade one graduate who knows their letters – are they able to take that knowledge to the next step and read a book? Continued education is necessary for them to learn to read and write well and then apply that knowledge to other subjects by reading textbooks and doing their assignments.

Sounds boring, doesn’t it? Obedience training taught in the strictest sense is tedious for both parties – human and canine. It doesn’t have to be though! Bringing the right attitude to any dog training class is essential and if you are enjoying the experience, guaranteed your dog will pick up on it and enjoy the work even more!

Trick Classes as a Way of Strengthening the Bond

Does the idea of taking another obedience class make your eyes glass over from boredom? First, maybe it wasn’t the work as much as it was the class. Try another trainer who understands positive training techniques and attempts to make the class fun for all participants. If that does not alleviate the boredom, try a Tricks Class.

Trick training is an excellent way to continue your dog’s education without making them perform the same routines. Instead of ‘sit/stay’, it teaches ‘sit/shake a paw’ and ‘sit/sit pretty!’.

You ask why you want your dog to ‘shake a paw’ – trick dogs always look foolish to you and maybe you will never use what you learn in public. However, trick training increases a dog’s focus and understanding while strengthening their bond to their owner.

It is also an excellent ‘crutch’ for the nervous or high-strung dog. During times of stress, running through a quick ‘trick’ routine can help them collect their wits and stay focused on you instead of the cause of their concern.

Need some Exercise?

Beyond obedience training, there are ‘dog sports’ that take what you and your four-legged athlete learned in class to the next level. Agility and Rally-O, or Rally Obedience, are similar in that they use various obstacles or challenges to test the skill of the dog and handler team.

Agility is more vigorous with multiple jumps, weave poles, teeter-totters, and chutes and although all breeds of dogs are capable of learning and performing agility, your Bulldog is probably never going to be a competitive Agility dog. Agility is high-energy obedience and a cardio workout for both the canine and the human handler!

Rally-O is slower, less speed based and more along the lines of competitive obedience with a jump or two included in for good measure. It teaches dogs focus and control while adding greater interest to obedience training.

Does your Dog have a Ball Fetish?

Flyball may not look like it involves a lot of concentration or obedience on the part of the dogs but you would be surprised in what it actually can teach them!

Flyball is a competitive team sport that comprises of each of the four dogs taking a turn running along a course to a specially designed box, hitting a pad that ejects a tennis ball, which the dog catches before returning to their owner. It is high-speed fun that helps build confidence, control, and patience in the ball-crazy dog! The dog’s learn to ‘sit/stay’ under the most intense of situations and although their focus is almost entirely on the ball during competition, they learn to respond instantly to their handler’s commands.

The important part of any dog training is strengthening the bond and understanding between the four-legged and two-legged participants. The more positive and productive time spent with your dog, the better the odds of your dreams coming true about that little ball of fluff becoming a perfect addition to your family and less chance of ever having to explain to your mother-in-law that ‘Fluffy’ is just happy to see her!

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