I had a great laugh today at Off Leash K9 Training, Atlanta.
During a call I was told that they had just finished “6 months plus” of obedience classes at a “large pet store chain” where they were told to not worry about recall…
Is it just me or does anyone else find this down right silly?
I would love to hear what others feel could be a more important command?
Recall “Come” in whatever language or verbiage you choose is by a mile the most important command. It is unfortunately not taught, I don’t mean well, I mean at all, by many “trainers” if that is what they want to call themselves.
Just to be clear if you can not get your dog back to you NO other command matters.
Recall is taught and with a high degree of distraction during our first lesson!
I get a lot of calls here at Off Leash K9 Training, Georgia from owners with multi-dog households. I did not look up the stats but I would have to say just as many households that have one dog have a multi-dog house.
So basically we do a lot of training for owners with multi-pups and the question always arises on what is the best way to do this?
Remember pups need separate training time just like people each learns somethings faster than others. You should not expect your pups to learn at the same pace. Some require a lot more time than others but they can all end up in the same place!
The example I give everyone is you have 2+ pups standing in front of you and you tell them to sit. One sits, so what do you do? You say sit again! When pups are not excellent at their commands this just confuses the one that did the right thing.
So while pups are going through our training we ask that each gets a half hour of reinforcement a day. Lots of clients practice more, some less (you know who you are) but adding a 2nd dog just adds more work.
I will give you the pros and cons you can decide which of the following work’s best for you.
Here are 3 ways owners do our training with multiple dogs:
1. Back to Back Hours- (Most Common) This is clearly the most convenient way to do the training expessually when you don’t live close. Now if you have or make the time for the 4 weeks this works out fine. But if you know you don’t have the time due to life please don’t choose this option.
2. Different Days or Times- This is the choice of owners that either can’t handle their pups together or the dogs can not be put in the same car. I have also had several owners that just can’t be away for 2+ hours at a time due to kids or parents they take care of. The same issues arise with this as the first option, less time you put in the less you will get out.
3. 4 Lessons with One, Then 4 Lessons with the Other- (My Recommendation) (Least Chosen:-) No matter if you have time or not your have twice as much time if you train one at a time. All your concentration in to one thing at a time! I find that pups almost always come out more advanced with this option.
I never push our 2-Week Board and Train Program but if you know your life does not permit the time to practice or you know yourself well enough to say I will slack off and not put in the work, you are wasting your time with the lessons.
For the Boarding Program we require pups be dropped off at least a week apart so will not pick both up at the same time.
It get a lot of calls here at Off Leash K9 Training, Atlanta about dogs going potty in the house. This is clearly a stressful thing for all owners and one of the top reason owners get rid of pups. So the following are the main reasons I find for this issue, leaving out the dog has been left to long or occasionally gets an upset stomach and goes in the house.
1. Understanding- So this one is most common in puppies that still don’t fully understand they are doing anything wrong. It can be the case in an older dog that either has been feral for a while, always kept outside, or has been in a humane society/SPCA for a long time. You can find my advice on potty training in 2 weeks (no matter the age) here: Blog- How to Potty Train in 2-Weeks
2. Medical- If a dog that has never had an accident all of a sudden starts to not be able to make it through the night, hold it for hours he use to be able to, or just starts going and even surprises herself please take them to the vet. Where is this usually very old dogs things such as a urinary track infection or many other things can cause this. Note: As I stated at the beginning if it is a one time thing, especially for pooping once, it will likely pass.
3. Dominance/Marking- The only time I really see this one apply to “pooping” is when a new baby is brought home:-) Yes, it is not acceptable but is not uncommon for a dog to poop in a newborns room. The usual issue here is as with most issues that arise in dogs as they age; dominance. Dominance left unchecked leads to many types of aggression, anxiety, food and toy guarding, and marking. This is where obedience comes in, not just “trick training” but true leadership. Dogs want and need leadership to have a safe and confident life and that is what we want to give every owner and pup that comes to Off Leash K9 Training, Atlanta.
I would say at a minimum, half of the dogs that visit Off Leash K9 Training, Atlanta are showing behavioral issues due to lack of exercise (physical and/or mental). This is not necessarily the owners fault. Most of us can not possible walk or run far enough to wear out our high energy pups. But I find the issue to be the owners are not physically able to walk their pup or are just too embarrassed due to their pups leash manners. Be it the constant pulling, lunging at people or other dogs, or just the unpredictability of what they will do when distracted.
Pups that don’t get the mental or physical exercise they need can display a wide range of behavioral issues.
- Excessive barking and/or excitement
- Escaping enclosures
- Destructive chewing
- Picking on or annoy other pets/family members
Medium and high energy dogs need a job. If you don’t provide one, they will make it their job to bark at everything that moves, chew on your prized possessions, escape the crate or kennel you’ve asked them to stay in, and so on. They will find their own outlets for their energy.
Off leash obedience opens up an entire world for you and your dog to experience the joys and benefits of proper amounts of exercise. Every grass field becomes a playground for you and your dog – no more waiting for a trip to the local fenced dog park. Hiking trails at local parks become an enjoyable walk for you and an energy-burning trek for your dog when they’re allowed to run ahead and romp versus pull at the leash. Walks become more enjoyable without risk of being pulled down or dislocating an arm at the sight of a distraction.
We can give you the confidence to throw the ball and take your pup to the park with a confident recall no matter the distraction.
I cringe every-time my clients start a sentence with “So we were at the the dog park”!
At best they say how annoyed they were that no one was paying attention to their own dog and some dog kept mounting theirs…
But more often than not such and such happened resulting in a dog fight. Now their pup is extremely fearful or aggressive with other dogs.
Note: The most incorrect statement I hear is “I got (2-57) dogs so they could play together and be socialized”. My constant response to this is “If the only people you ever saw and interacted with were your spouse and kids would you be “socialized”?
I am only speaking for Off Leash K9 Training, Atlanta but we do NOT recommend dog parks as a way to socialize your dog.
- Pack Mentality with strange dogs is not what you want.
- In large groups of “uncontrolled” dogs, they will try to establish pack order.
- The rush when entering the park is overwhelming to many pups.
- Just being in the crossfire when other dogs get in a fight.
- Your pup may think the pack is a threat to you and become protective.
- A lot of owners pay no attention to their pup, therefore have zero control.
- Human emotion: There will always be one owner that you’ll find chasing their uncontrollable dog from one end of the park to the other, screaming at it to behave. Others see a pitbull, doberman, rottweiler, german shepherd, or are just fearful of large pups. This can bring a lot of unneeded anxiety to the equation. Adding the human emotion element can create a ticking time bomb from even a relatively stable pack.
SO what is the solution and alternatives to dog parks?
The solution is simply, smaller groups of controlled dogs with more supervision.
- Play-dates – Dogs can have play-dates just as kids do. Less dogs with more supervision.
- Doggie Daycare – This one comes with a caveat, the daycare needs to have a sufficient amount of “competent” handlers to divide up and supervise dogs.
- Pet Friendly Stores – Proper socialization is not just with other dogs but with people and strange locations. Lots of home improvement store such as Lowes, Home Depot, and Tractor Supply allow dogs (call to ensure your local location does). These are not about running into other dogs but experiencing different environments and people.
If your dog has been in a dog fight and is showing signs of fear or aggression please seek help as soon as possible. The longer you allow this change in personality to go on the longer it will take to correct. Proper obedience training will built confidence while showing your pup you will protect them in any situation.