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The best advice

I was recently asked what was the best dog related advice I had been given. It was quite an easy question really, because something Graeme Sims said sprang straight into my mind. He said that the secret of good training was to love your dog so much that they can't resist you. I think that applies to life with a dog in general, not just training, but certainly if you apply that to life in general with a dog, I think you get better training results.

I like that advice because it implies so much. If you love your dog there are many things that you will do for him; you will spend time with him, you will feed him well, you will give him comfort, exercise, medical care, training, toys; you will consider him. You won't ignore him or mistreat him, and you certainly won't dump him. That one word, "love", conveys so much.

Of course I've picked up a lot of other great advice while working on DogCast Radio. With training in mind, one of the most helpful tips I've been given is to train in the environment you want the dog to perform the behaviour in. So for example just because my dog has a great recall in my back yard, I shouldn't expect the same results at the dog park, with all the tempting scents, sights and sounds around - unless I've done some training with those distractions around.

Socialisation is another piece of advice. This works best with puppies, but can help older dogs too. Accustoming your dog to as many different environments, sounds, sights, smells, people, dogs and even floor surfaces will help produce a well-balanced dog, who takes most things in his stride.

Simply bringing your own dog up is an education. I know that Star's toilet training, and recall training went a lot better than Buddy's because I learned from my mistakes the first time around. Yes, I made mistakes with Buddy, but luckily it was nothing disastrous, just things that slowed our progress down. I will never teach a dog to toilet on newspaper for example, as it's too hard a habit to break.

However, the other thing I've learned is that different methods work for different people - and different dogs - so I know there will be people reading this for whom paper training has worked brilliantly. And that's the great thing with training, there's bound to be a method that will work for you and your dog, it's just a question of finding it.

Using a clicker was also an excellent suggestion - but I could probably fill a whole other post with that, so instead I'll close by asking what's the best dog-related advice you've ever been given? Maybe we could compile a DogCast Radio top ten?

Take care,

Julie x

Comments

Hi Steven,

It's an interesting one isn't it? And it does show how important it is that breeders breed for temperament, as well as health and looks - hopefully in that order!

Funnily enough this is something else that Graeme Sims stresses. He says it's no good having a Border Collie if you are a couch potato. Similarly don't expect something like a Basset Hound, with a big heavy body in comparison to its leg length, to be happy out jogging with you all day.

The great thing about the huge variety in doggy personalities is that you'll find a canine counterpart to you character.

I note that you are interested in Labs at the moment. I think having a Lab denotes a wonderful steady temperament, with a love of life and generally being a all round good guy. Owning a Lab myself I'm not at all biased about it.

All the best,

Julie

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