Thursday, November 20, 2008

Why Train?

As a dog, I must say I think we are just perfect and that people are lucky that we are around. However, sometimes to help us fit into human society we have to have some training. Why bother? And how do we know if the trainer and the training is right for us?

Archie and Agatha have described their recent experiences with dog training and their efforts to keep the trainer from coming back. Since my person is a dog trainer, I think that I can share my thoughts on training. There are many different ways to train dogs, some good and some bad. Barbara always says that training is something you do with your dog, not to your dog. I agree with this. We do reward based, positive training (which is the only kind I am interested in) and it has made me even more bonded to her.

Training stimulates my mind, I get to go interesting and fun places and I get lots of rewards. Dogs who don't behave well stay home because their people are embarrassed to take them anywhere.

Dogs that are trained get to do fun dog sports like tracking, agility or freestyle.

Sky and Shari practicing their freestyle moves.

The Drill Team performing.


They can learn lots of tricks and show them off. Royal is learning to play the piano.

I am learning to leap.

All around training makes me a better dog (and I was pretty good to start with).

Now training is as much about training your person as it is about you. Barbara says that if she just had to train us dogs her job would be very easy! But the whole point of training is to make you a good team so you and your person can communicate and work together.

If you need some training it is important to find the right trainer who will train you in a way that you will enjoy learning and help your people to be consistent with you. They can start by checking out the trainer search at the Association of Pet Dog Trainers. The APDT advocates dog friendly, reward based training and helps trainers get education on the best ways to train. You can also check out the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers whose members have taken a national exam to show that they know how to train.

Your people should check the trainer's references, or if it is for a group class, they should attend a class without you to see what methods are used. Training should be fun and humane. Training should never, ever cause you fear or pain.

Will training make you tired? Sometimes. When I have been working very hard on a new skill or trick I need a little nap when I get home since my brain got stretched. Training should not make you afraid of the trainer. I love to train (and I have been doing it since I was a pup), learn new things and have fun with my person while I do it. You can check out her website for more info on training. Have fun and get lots of treats.


Mango said...

We do that training stuff too, but I have to say that my attention span is somewhat limited. My favorite is working on my dance moves in the backyard, but it is really hard to concentrate, so we have to keep our practices very short.

Little pee-wee is starting his agility soon (just like you). I did agility when I was little (under 200 pounds), but now its really not my thing.


with love, Madison said...

Madison is going to puppy class at Doberman Rescue, and they start up again in January. Until then, we are working everyday with basic commands. It is so true that a well-behaved, trained dog is a happier dog, because it can be INCLUDED.

Hero said...

Thanks for all that great information, Niamh! Isn't it amazing all the things us dogs are capable of if only hoomans would learn how we think and what motivates us. My mom just read an ad the other day about someone on my island who has a 7 month old Gordon Setter and needs to find a trainer for him. Too bad you can't fly over here with your mom to work your magic.

Fenway said...

Your training post is fascinating. My Alpha trains me off and on all day long. Sometimes it's a real session and she proofs my skills and other times it's just a little bit of "watch my eyes" and "heel, sit, down, place, etc." I like it because we are a team.

Today I learned how to dance with her around a ball. I am always directly opposite her as we circle around. It's kind of like sheepherding and working with a shepherd to keep the sheep in place. Lots of fun. Then, at the end of our play, she got me to run 'round and 'round her in circles. I didn't even realize how hard I was exercising!

The drill team looks like a LOT of fun. I like the dancing, too.

Thanks, Niamh, for voting for my brother Chance!

Your pal,

Lorenza said...

Training sounds interesting but I have some problems with it
First, there are no trainers here.
Then, my mom is not a good trainer
Then, I can't get many treats.
I am well behavied when I go out but sure I'd like to do tricks too!
Have a good night
Kisses and hugs

Sen, Tama and Tom said...

You are fortunate to have a dog trainer as your person, Niamh! We find that France is a bit behind when it comes to dog training, but #1 always works with me to make sure that I am a gentleman wherever I go, and I am!

Your Pal,

Amber-Mae said...

Very good post indeed! My Mommy is a trainer too. Well, she's MY trainer & my handler. My Mommy never started off with this positive training thing before or this clicker training coz she never knew about it at 1st when she 1st had me. But now that she knows about, she has started to use the clicker method sometimes when she teaches me especially a new trick. She hast started using it during OB classes too but not all the time.

My Mommy has always believed in fair amounts of corrections & praising. She still does use the choker chain on me but she has now reduced the jerkings becoz I don't need to be jerked anymore often now. She doesn't jerk me hard but sometimes I really do need it becoz I refuse to listen. When I do something wrong, she will correct me firmly, if I do it right, she praises me like crazy & gives me the most deeleecious treat on earth!

I am not scared of her nor am I not willing to work with her anymore becoz of all the corrections I get. We both are still a great team & I still do get high placings for Obedience, my tail wags & I am happy working with her all the time.

I guess what works for your dog, may not work for the other. It always depends on how the trainer/owner wants to train the dog & if it works & the dog is still happy, then there's nothing we can complain about it.

But I agree with what you said, Training & spending time with your dog does stimulate both owner's & dog's minds. It builds bond between them. And we dogs LOVE routines in our lives! A trained dog, is a happy dog. And I AM happy!

Butt wiggles,
Solid Gold Dancer

Lenny said...

Great info! My people try to train me but I am pretty stubborn. :) I know exactly what they want me to do but I won't cooperate without a bribe!

Your friend, Lenny

Gus, Louie and Callie said...

Mom thinks the training stuff is good too. It keeps our minds sharp. Callie needs to learn some manners. She is such a pest..

Big Sloppy Kisses
Gus, Louie and Callie

Agatha and Archie said...

Well this is a very informative post(as always) and there are some parts of training that we love( that would be the food parts which is really all of it...) but it is no good...even though we KNOW we would love your PL we are still trying to think of ways to prevent this from taking place.....Love nad kisses A+A

Comet and BLU said...

Are there people trainers? We are embarrassed to take our girl anywhere in public! Maybe we just haven't found the right reward for her yet.

Good tips on training.

Ludo van puppy said...

You is a very clever dog. Now I know how good training is I don't feel so bad that I had to do some at the beach today. I does like to do training cos I gets all Mum's attention that way.

Gus, Louie and Callie said...

You can come over and play anytime you would like. Everyone is welcome..

Big Sloppy Kisses
Gus, Louie and Callie

Samantha ~ Holly and Zac ~ said...

Reward based training is good, we love training. Especially as we get these tiny treats that taste yummy. It also gives our brain a workout and then we do get a little sleepy. Our person likes it when we are contented and sleepy. :-)

Your pals,
Holly & Zac

Pedro said...


My mom trained me to be cute! It was so easy to learn. I guess I'm just a natural!


Honey the Great Dane said...

Hi Niamh,

Thanks for visiting my website & blog!

I so agree with you about training - my human believes it's really important too and is always doing loads of stuff with me. In fact, people are always telling her that you can't do anything with a slow, dopey giant breed like me and to get herself "a real dog" (gasp!) - and that just makes her want to prove them wrong!! She believes that you can do anything if you put in the time, effort and patience...and you needs loads and loads of patience with me! Tee-Hee!

But we have shown them - for example, I'm probably the 1st Dane to compete in Canine Freestyle and we even won the trophy for Best Routine!

My human uses mainly reward-based methods too and we do a LOT of stuff with clicker training, such as all my dancing moves, but she does also believe in discipline and corrections, if I am doing something really naughty and it could be dangerous to me or someone else. To be honest, she usually just has to use a grumpy voice and give me a scary look and I'm terrified! :-)

But I just LOVE training - I think it is really important for our health and happiness as dogs and it really helps us to bond with our owners.

Hey - have you visited My Training page on my website? If you haven't, take a look when you have a moment!

Honey the Great Dane