A Well Trained Dog - Or Dog vs. Nutria Saga

A Well Trained Dog

 

Dogs are our link to paradise. They don't know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring .... It was peace. - Milan Kundera



It is certainly a lot more fun for you to have an obedient and trained dog. Not only that, but trained dogs, are happier dogs. They are less likely to get into fights with other dogs and will tend to socialize better with dogs that they meet in public.

It is particularly important to have a well-trained dog if you have young members of the family or children in the neighborhood. Just like having well-behaved children, a well-trained dog makes for a happier household.

Here is what happened today.  I took my dog (who let's be honest, could be better trained herself) on a walk at lunchtime.  Come down the street and see two young boys - maybe about 9 years old calling their dog and two other adults (not related to the boys) standing around this tree.  Come to find out, the boys were walking the dog and it saw a nutria (aka - a rodent of unusual size) and the dog gave chase, pulling the leash out of the boys hands.  The dog got the nutria cornered under a tree and that is when I showed up.   

Picture a big overgrown tree with branches all the way to the ground, nutria up in the branches at the base of the and the dog just waiting and barking between the fence and the tree, all surrounded by bushes.  All on the side of a road that can have quite a few cars going by, even during the pandemic.

Yep, a recipe for potential disaster.

One concern is that the nutria would finally swipe at the dog as they can be quite mean and injure a dog quite badly.  Or that the nutria would run out to the street and the dog would give chase and get hit by a car. 

None of us could get close enough to grab the leash, and of course we adults who did not know the dog or the kids didn't want to risk an agitated dog biting us, either.  Or getting bit by a nutria for that matter.

Eventually I convinced the boys to call their mother to come help.  They were quite concerned they would be in trouble.  Mom came finally and after another 10 minutes finally convinced the dog to leave the nutria alone and come to her.  Of course, the dog was just as afraid as the kids that it was going to be in trouble so it basically crawled out on it's belly to the mom.  

So, what is the moral of this story?  The more control you get of your dog when they are young, the better for all.  Maybe if the dog was better trained it would not have pulled from the kids, or it would have come when called.  In all honesty, my dog Twinkle would have reacted exactly like this and she would not have come when called either.  Why?  Because I did not do a good job training her when she was a pup.  She is 7 years old now and is better, but I have taken a much more firm hand with her since moving to a place where she has to be walked more often near nutria, ducks, crows, and other dogs.  

The time that you spend training your puppy initially will impact on the pleasure you can get from your dog for the many years of its life.

Taking the time to train your dog will strengthen the bond you have together and this will ensure a long and happy friendship where both you and your dog benefit. Considering the amount of time that you will be with your dog the time involved in training is minimal and well worthwhile.

There are a few basic commands that need to be mastered and they are all relatively simple. These commands are...

Down: this is where you teach your dog to lay down on command, and is one of the main aspects of any successful training program.

Heel: this is where you teach your dog walk beside you at the same pace without pulling on the lead. Twinkle is a puller by nature. I have found that with her I have to still use a
pronged collar to keep her from pulling. Not to mention, a dog that pulls too much can damage their trachea.  

Learning the 'No' word: this is a particularly important word for your dog to know and can save you a lot of trouble. In fact it is probably one of the most important aspects of training, if you can get your dog to understand and respond to the word no. Personally I use the term 'Leave It' and have found that to be more successful for me.

It can certainly save you a lot of trouble in the future.

Sit: sit is one of the most basic of all dog training commands and is one that you'll want to teach from the outset to maintain control of your dog's behavior.

Stay: and finally 'stay' - this is important to ensure that no matter where you are, you'll know that your dog will stay precisely where you want it. Gotta be honest, Twinkle does not follow this command at all.

If there is nothing else that you train your dog to do beyond these basic commands, it will certainly improve the relationship you have with your dog and the enjoyment and happiness that you and your dog will have together.

It is well worth the time while still a puppy, as it will improve the quality of life for many years to come. Take it from me, I will be much more firm and consistent with my next dog. At least that is the story I tell myself.

Training will also let your dog know that you're the boss and in doing so eliminate many behavior problems.

Dogs that are untrained can often get depressed, despondent, and unhappy and display symptoms of anxiety and confusion.

You are actually giving your dog a purpose in life, where they will get pleasure out of the fact that they are pleasing you.


What are your favorite tips for having a well trained dog?  Share them above in the comments.  

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