The Star-Herald

Training helps your dog

Having a dog in your life should provide you with great joy and companionship, not extra burden or an endless source of frustration, as is so often the case.  If you are an owner of a dog or planning to adopt one, you must understand the need of giving it proper training. It is difficult to live with an untrained dog.

The first step in dog training is behavior training. In this process, the pet learns how to behave with people and other dogs, and is taught good manners. The pet learns how to behave with you in your house.

The next step is obedience training. In this process, the pet learns to respond when called. The pet may respond to a particular name or tone of voice. The words of command should be clear so that the pet understands what it has to do.

Another important part of the training process is activity training. In this type of training, the pet learns to perform various tasks through commands.  The dogs usually enjoy this type of training. Clicker training is also a vital part of training, and involves the dog performing a task on hearing a clicker sound, and being rewarded with some treats. Consistency is required in this process. If the dog is rewarded once but ignored next time, it will get confused about what it has to do. A dog must receive praise each time it performs a certain task.

Some dogs learn easily while others are slow to learn. The truth is that each breed presents its own unique set of challenges and rewards.  Patience is the key in giving training to different breeds of dogs.

Trainers can give punishment to a dog if it does not perform a certain task, but punishment should not be so vigorous that it scares the pet. You should not shout or yell at the dog.

Regardless of which training technique you choose to employ, this is what proper dog obedience training should accomplish.

1 – It should build or strengthen a close, healthy and appropriate relationship between you and your dog.

2 – Training should open up a clear line of communication between you and your dog. This includes you knowing what to expect of your dog in all circumstances, and your dog clearly understanding and respecting what is expected of him/her.

3 – Obedience training should lay down a set of rules or boundaries which educates your dog to become a responsible member of society, including how to relate to other dogs, animals and people, basic manners and how to behave in any situation.

4 – Training establishes the groundwork which assists in preventing the development of unacceptable problem behavior — such as jumping up, barking, chewing, digging, etc.

Don’t rush the process. Remember, you’re asking a lot of your dog. 

God said, “I need somebody strong enough to pull sleds and find bombs, yet gentle enough to love babies and lead the blind. Someone who would spend all day on a couch with a resting head and supportive eyes to lift the spirits of a broken heart.” So God made a dog.

If you are looking for a pet to join your family, stop by the Central Aroostook Humane Society or check out our Facebook page.  Hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., closing for lunch from 12 to 12:30.

Remember to be responsible — spay and neuter your pets.

Gloria J. Towle is the secretary and a member of the Board of Directors of the Central Aroostook Humane Society.

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