My Dog’s Better than Your Dog

Or, My Introduction to Formal Dog Training Classes

For many years I just trained my dogs on my own, mostly for what I wanted them to do. Then, about fifteen years ago I thought that I would go to the "real" classes. I mistakenly thought that I had the best dog in the world. I was promptly shown that this was far from the case! Our heeling lagged. Our recall was slow. Our sit was crooked.

It seemed that we did nothing right. Truth was we actually got worse the more I went! How could this be? Well, I think I started resenting my faithful friend for being less than stellar and he knew that I didn't adore him anymore and he hated going.

We earned our titles, never went back and soon became super pals again, and his behavior was back to normal with once again superb obedience.

So years later, I had trained many more dogs and felt ready to return to the world of the "professional dog training class".

Well, it was worse! First my puppy barked at some statue like thing, he was after all only a puppy! The trainer reprimanded me and informed me that I needed to squirt my dog in the face with vinegar water! Luckily I was assertive enough to know that she was out of her mind! Why would I do such a thing to a sweet puppy! How would that shape his future?

Then we got to the "evaluation" part of it. I thought we would sail through this. Nope! At 12 weeks old, my little guy loved to drop into his down for a treat. It was his favorite thing! I was again chastised because "this down is too quick for a puppy that age, you must be training him too hard".

Again a ridiculous comment, any little puppy if molded with positive methods will offer any behavior you want, and offer it eagerly.

We have the responsibility and the honor to help shape each of our pets. But the ends do not justify the means. Just because something works, it does not mean that it is right. This is one reason why so many good people just hate training their dog. Is the perfect sit worth it if your pup is unhappy? Of course not!

We hide our believed failures at not having the well trained pet. Maybe it was the system and not the owner who failed? Why are so many of us "dog school drop outs"?

So for all of you who may have had similar experiences, I say trust your dog, they are usually right. Let's campaign for a new approach where "No Dog is Left Behind"!

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