Friday, November 9, 2012

How to Train a Dog

If you ask five people how to train a dog you will get a variety of responses.  Over the years I've been exposed to a variety of dog trainers and I've learned a lot. The main thing that I've learned is that you have to be consistent.  If you don't want the dog to jump on you, you can't tell it 9 times no and then on the 10th time let it jump. 

There are trainers who would body slam a dog to the ground if it did something they didn't like. (That would go over well in a humane society wouldn't it?) And there is the other extreme who only believe in rewarding positive behavior and ignoring the negative.  (As in never saying no)

So that doesn't really tell you how to train a dog because what you are really doing is training the dog owner. 

Here at the SPCA we are fortunate to have two wonderful trainers.  They donate so much of their time for the welfare of the animals.  Tracy has training classes year round for dog owners.  Plus, she helps our staff with temperament testing our shelter dogs.  She is always willing to check out a dog when we have a behavioral question and often offers good advice.

Ann has established training classes for the volunteers.  We have a core group of dedicated volunteers who are willing to go the extra mile and work with the rambunctious dogs.  It is so important to provide that consistency.  We have learned so much from Ann it has translated to the adoption of difficult to place dogs.

So thank you to Tracy and Ann. And to all of you dog owners who have difficult dogs-remember "consistency."

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