This is an instruction sheet I gave to a new owner who sent me her pup, Molly, for training. These instructions are basic hints for how to have a successful first few days with a new pup.
When I first adopted my puppy, I knew that I wanted to start training him. I always hear that it's better if you start training your dogs at their earliest age, because they'll grow up to become masters in everything they were trained in. So, I gave it a shot. I looked up a few pet training methods and strategies to begin with. Even though I was following what the Internet was telling me, my puppy couldn't entirely understand what I was trying to tell him. At this point, I didn't know what else to do. I knew my puppy was at the perfect age where he begins to understand things. Even his breed is the type of breed that can easily pick up on tricks. However, it wasn't my puppy and his learning ability that was the problem, it was what the Internet was showing me.
There are so many people out there who are in need of help and guidance nearly every single day. From out in the public to even in the house, these people can't achieve certain tasks on their own. And that's where service dogs come into play. They assist their owners with so many tasks and duties that they can't do on their own. Not to mention that service dogs are super friendly and dedicate their time to helping their owners 24 hours of the day and seven days a week.
Dogs are man's best friend. We've known this forever; their unwavering loyalty, willingness to learn, and unconditional love makes them incredible companions. But there are dogs who do more than be a beloved family member—service dogs. Service dogs (SD) are companion animals that are taught specific skills and tasks to help a person with a disability. Dogs that are solely for providing comfort and emotional support are not service dogs; a SD must be trained to perform specific tasks related to their handler's disability.
Clicker training is a common way of training an animal using positive reinforcement. It is an effective method of training which involves the use of a small device that clicks, a reward, and a patient handler. The basic principle is rewarding the animal for performing the desired behaviour and ignoring it when it does not perform the desired behaviour. The clicker is employed as soon as the target behaviour is performed and used as a bridge, in order for the animal to create an association between the food and the reward. The method is commonly used to train dogs, but can also be effectively used to train any animal (even a goldfish), so long as the trainer works within the species' natural limits.
Collars on dogs are usually meant to obtain the dog's name and owner's information in case they suddenly get lost. They're also mainly used to attach leashes to when taking your dog out. But have you ever heard of a smart dog collar? It's basically the iPhone, but for your dog. There are so many benefits that come with a smart dog collar that many of us don't even realize.
This article isn't about "How to Potty Train your Dog." There are lots of articles out there like that and I'm sure you've read them all. This article is my personal experience potty training my fur baby, but more importantly it is a reminder that potty training is a long process, so there is no need to get stressed out or blame your dog. Please keep in mind that while your dog is under 8 months, she will want to make you happy and be a good girl. If she isn't peeing outside, it's because she does not understand that she is supposed to yet.
I've been a dog trainer for over two years now—part of a corporate company—and despite stepping down and going on another career path, becoming one was the best decision I made. I've met some incredible people and their wonderful four-legged friends that they brought for classes. Being able to teach and explain to the owners to look at things in a different perspective has helped saved so many lives from being released to a shelter and given up on.
This is about my service dogs and myself with a little advice. Luna is pictured by the lake.
I, too, was in the shoes of those who did not understand the acceptable public maneuvers for when a service dog and their handler were on the scene. We’ve all been there, making kissy noises, staring, petting… innocently enough we did not know the true rudeness, awkwardness, and inconvenience we imposed on the handler. As a current handler of a service dog, I am fully aware of the boundaries I so ignorantly crossed, as Harley’s and mine are crossed on the daily.
We got Jax, a lab mix, from a family who had too many dogs to be able to care for him properly. He would become our first pet we have had in a few years, since our last dog passed away. He instantly became a part of the family and I worked with him daily on commands. He knew the "come" command, but as a puppy, it was only when he wanted to know it. I had been researching training collars online, then the day came that I KNEW I had to get one. My daughters were crossing the road to get on the bus and he ran after them. I had to chase after him and was yelling like a mad lady, which probably was a hilarious sight to the people watching in their vehicles that were stopped for the bus. I came right in to the computer and ordered this training collar. I ordered it because of the good price, the three different modes, it was weather-resistant, and had a 1000 foot range. I was like a kid waiting for Christmas morning and then it finally came. It was easy to set up and I put it on him. I was instantly impressed. He learned very quickly what it meant when it beeped or vibrated.
It is important as a volunteer trainer, and a participant of this event, that you become familiar with the basics of where behavior comes from.