FLD Gus is nearing doggy-puberty, that wonderful time when he is likely to develop selective hearing and forget what-seems-like-everything (from commands like HEEL to potty-training)!
To ready myself for this potential onslaught, I perused the suggested reading list in my Leader Dogs for the Blind puppy-raiser manual.
Surviving Your Dog's Adolescence: A Positive Training Program, a book by Carol Lea Benjamin. Just what I needed. (Watch for my BOOK REVIEW, coming soon!)
HINTS TO BECOME A BETTER TRAINER
(Or simply a more-informed and responsible dog owner.)
- Read as much as you can about dog breeds and behavior, in books, magazines, and websites.
- Read as much as you can about dog training techniques, in books, magazines, and websites.
- Go to a dog park and observe the interaction of the dogs. And the relationships between the dogs and their people! (If you are raising a puppy for Leader Dogs, do NOT bring your puppy to a dog park.)
- If you have more than one dog, spend time watching them interact; if you don't, take your dog on a doggy-play-date with another dog. Pay attention to their body language during play, particularly if the play gets a little rough. You can learn a lot by seeing what canines do naturally to sort things out.
- Enroll you and your dog in a local obedience class. Even if you've taken a class before, take a different one. You are sure to learn at least one new technique or bit of information that is helpful.
- Prepare your dog to pass the AKC (American Kennel Club) "Canine Good Citizen" test. (For information, check out the AKC website: www.akc.org/events/cgc.)
- Explore the Therapy Dogs International website (www.tdi-dog.org) to learn more about rewarding "work" you can do with your dog.
- Learn a sport with your pet dog, like agility or fly ball. These activities provide mental and physical exercise for your dog, and you will pick up valuable training techniques.
IDEAS FOR Leader Dogs for the Blind PUPPY-RAISERS
- Review your puppy manual. (Did you know that the manual is now on-line?)
- Attend your monthly meeting/outing with your puppy-counselor (and bring questions).
- Try outings with other puppy-counselors' groups.
- Talk to veteran puppy-raisers about their experiences.
If you are not sure how to find resources to help you learn more about your dog and training techniques, ask your Veterinarian for suggestions. Call your local animal shelter, groomer, pet store, or boarding or training facility for recommendations. Or, just GOOGLE it!
Take the time to educate yourself about canines and their behavior--and enjoy a more satisfying relationship with your dog!