I just got back from a walk at the park, it's beautifully chilly out. I took Luke with me and it is a great time for me to think about what I'm going to blog about while he marks every tree in the park. I talk, he listens, he pees and I think. As we were strolling around the park I thought about what dogs need to know, I mean obedience wise. I often do photo shoots with dogs that know nothing as far as obedience is concerned. Of course as a trainer I've met lots of dogs with no formal training, that is until they met me.
I think it's sad if s dog has no training, this really limits your communication ability and guidance. A biggy is the photo shoot "can he sit there?" "I can try," is usually what I hear. "Does he know how to sit?" And no sooner is it out of my mouth when the owner is applying pressure to their dogs hind end in attempts to sit their dog. This is when I say "let's just let him decide what he wants to do." And I mean it, I'm not being sarcastic. The dog will do what he wants and I will get the shot.
It makes life a whole lot simpler if you just teach your dog a few verbal cue. A verbal cue is the command, sit or down for instance. But training takes time, consistency, patience, perseverance and understanding. Ya got all that? Dogs are really quick learners and once you get the basic idea of teaching a behavior, it is pretty easy to educate your dog. I like being able to ask my dogs to do things and have them understand what I want. Doing everything by physical touch is tough, many dogs become over stimulated by touch. Being pushed and shoved around works against you and your dog.
For starters, I think every dog should first know their name. You'd be surprised how many don't. Then to come when called, sit, down, stay and no bolting out open doors. So that is the bare minimum that I like to see. Of course the sky is the limit and it's not all verbal cues that they learn. Dogs can learn hand signals, body signals and linked behaviors. They are pretty amazing actually. But like I said it takes commitment; if you give that commitment you will open up a whole world of communicating and canine behavior.
The more you learn about teaching your dog the easier it is to understand canine behavior. You will get to know your dog on a far deeper level once you've unlocked the secret "learning" key. Training is never a waste and done in a fun and positive way it can only be a win win situation. Canine minds are a true wonder, watching how quickly they can learn a new behavior is truly amazing. Start today; teach your dog something. And if you're like me, you'll love every second of it.