|[Bennet is dapper]
|[Bennet's Petfinder Photo]
After a particularly bad week of walks when he was going nuts over dogs in the street or whenever we got off the elevator and someone was waiting, I felt like it was time to find a trainer. None of the self-taught corrections were working, and I was starting to actually dread walking him (not because I'm lazy!). I don't like clicker training, and I didn't think a group class would help. So through some research (my sister's trainer in Norcal & google), I decided to try to find one through the Association of Pet Dog Trainers.
After narrowing it down to 2 trainers, I chose to go with Erica Lake, who was the best fit for us. Her training mentality/method was most aligned with my own beliefs on dog training, so I felt comfortable with her. We had our first session, but I'm going to see how helpful the techniques I learned are before I choose to have a second session. I want to make some progress before I ask her for more help. Although I learned a ton of things, there are a few things that really stood out to me/I am actively trying to practice.
- Bennet has a fear of men. It's very common in dogs. It's important to train them so they associate positivity (treats) with men.
- Eye contact is crucial. Dogs need to learn to be comfortable making eye contact and to learn to look to you first.
- I have to remain calm even when the dog is going crazy over a distraction or barking like a maniac. I also have to be confident and relaxed with the dog. This is a huge huge thing that I have to constantly practice.
- Don't repeat commands or else the dog will think it's okay to ignore commands.
- I have to do a little bit of training every day, and repetition is key.
- Distracting through treats is a great way to grab attention/associate positivity with scary sounds/distractions.
- Don't feel bad about not taking your dog to the dog park. Dog parks are weird places without the natural hierarchy of a pack that dogs are used to. I don't have to feel bad about not taking Bennet to the dog park!! Yay! Also, going there more often won't fix his issue with going crazy over dogs when he's on a leash! Begone guilty feelings!
- Dogs don't necessarily pick up behavior changes at once, unlike when you're teaching them a trick. It's not instantaneous. Patience is key. Patience is also something I really lack, so it's challenging.