Hello to everyone who loves dogs!
I wanted to touch one of the most important aspects during your mutual life with your dog.
What does this word “training” mean to you? Let’s think… Maybe, if you’re asked to define training, you’d say “A process of making a dog to respond to certain commands”. Or maybe “Teaching dog obedience”. Or probably the most closest would be “Producing a well-behaved life companion”.
Well, all these fit into the description. There is the most important definition of training, though. It might surprise you. Training is the way of bonding with your dog, making his life a part of yours and your life a part of his. Training is the way of building the incredible bridge of unity, something that will be shared by your best companion and you. You know this feeling when you look at your dog and he looks at you, and you understand each other without words? Hey, words aren’t even necessary in your language. Dogs make sounds that we call “barking”, but those sounds take only a small part of communication.
Just like raising a child, raising a well-mannered dog takes a lot of effort. The difference, though, is time – you have about 10 times less time than you have to raise children. Therefore, the best thing to do is to know how to raise your dog, at least at a glance, before you get one.
After all, you can decide when your new friend will enter your house, right? It isn’t like child – oops, the test is positive, let’s get ready for new baby then. No, first get ready, then make the test positive, in a sense.
Easy to say, of course – I myself got my dog before I knew how to train him. Alright, I have veterinary college behind, I did study dogs’ anatomy as well as physiology, back in ’80-s, but there was nothing, I mean nothing, about dogs’ psychology.
Knowing the way your dog
feels and thinks has instincts (but wait, maybe… feels and thinks?) is the most important part of your bonding. How else do you expect to communicate if you don’t speak and understand Doggish? This is great and complicated language that consists about 20-25% of sounds and about 75-80% of body posture, facial expressions, ears position, eyes direction, and much more.
OK, I’m deviating…Stop.
This is my Jake when he was just 3 months old…
And here, we’re enjoying sunny day together, he’s almost a year old.
As he grew, my love for him grew as well. As my love for him grew, his love and respect for me had increased tremendously.
Training is everything. You need it in order to make your dog obedient, you need it to respond to your commands, you need it so that your dog is well-behaved, and you need it in order to bond with your dog – I mean, to mix and intertwine your souls!
PLEASE NOTE: All information shared below is intended for conversational use only. I am not insisting on one specific method of training or another; rather, I’m happy to share my own experience and invite you to share yours. Each dog needs specific approach; therefore, this page can not be considered as advisory or educational.
As my research about dog’s mentality is continuously running into new things, here is what I understand about dog’s mentality.
Dogs are pack animals. Since birth, each puppy is establishing his own place in life within his pack. There is quite similarity between all carnivorous mammals in the way their young behave and mothers react. I remember from my childhood how people, when deciding to get rid of their new born kittens but still wanting to keep one, were doing this tricky selection. Of course, you want to keep the kitten who will be the most fit, so that it has less chances to get sick and more chances for survival. In other words, the most fit for life is the most dominant one. So, how can you tell? It was simple – they had to take litter far away from home, at least 2 km, and then let the mother out to search for them. When mother would find her kittens, she started carrying them back, one-by-one in her mouth. The very first one that she brings – keep that one, it’s the most fit for life! Why? Because the most dominant kitten will crawl out of the crowd and be on top of others, thus drawing his mother’s attention on himself before others.
Why am I writing this? Well, the point here is that if I want the most fit-for-life puppy, it has to be the most dominant. There is slight difference, of course, as how to select a puppy. You can’t ask people from whom you’re buying to do such experiment. But you can at least watch the litter. So I did. First, my Jake had the biggest belly of all, which indicated he was never short of milk. And true, when puppies went to feed, he was at his mother’s rear, getting tits with most milk. Second, when puppies went to play, this one was always going his way to sniff flowers, explore bushes, etc. Even though he did play with others, he had very curious mind. And last – but actually, it happen first – when I arrived to this place and came out of the car, he was first one who noticed me and run toward me, and he was the only one who got stack underneath the gate, as he couldn’t fit through while other puppies passed.
Why sharing about this? To make a point that my dog is dominant. This meant for me that training him, especially obedience, will be tougher than others.
Now, I’m approaching the most important thought about training a dog and bonding with him. The way dogs see things are not the same as we see the world. Each dog has pack instincts, which play role in his decision on taking the action or leaving it in another dog’s responsibility. For example, a loud vehicle passes you, your dog feels the danger. In most cases, those dogs that are dominant and feel that they’re at the higher level of dominance level, will decide to so-call protect their pack (you and him and others within your “pack”) and may attack the object that makes them feel threatened. However, if he feels that your level of dominance is higher, he’d rather give a bark and look at you for approval or a signal to stop. Because dog would rather yield solution of the problem on you, if he “knows” that it is you who should handle the situation.
Now, we can consider some important things before we begin training.