Editorial: Teach your doggies well

Published 10:10 am Tuesday, April 3, 2012


When dogs attack, it truly is unfortunate, and the owners of any attacker should never make an excuse for that behavior.

Most attacks can be prevented.

Poor behavior by dogs — such as attacking, running away, growling at people, peeing on the carpet or even malaise — can be addressed mainly by putting dogs, when they are puppies, through obedience school.

The Albert Lea Veterinary Clinic offers training for puppies 6 to 16 weeks old. The Kennel Club of Freeborn County offers training for puppies 4 to 11 months old based on demand. There are classes for dogs older than 11 months every spring and fall.

The knowledge dogs gain at the schools make the animals and their owners happier for life. Dog training opens up a line of communication, sets boundaries, reduces confusion, makes your dog safer around other people, builds trust and, best of all, avoids you being in a dominance struggle with your pet. The dogs know how to please their masters, and the masters are happy with the behavior of their dogs.

The next best thing to obedience school is knowing some tips to training puppies in the home. This is a short list (find more online):

• Praise your dog for doing what’s right. Never scold a dog for doing what it hasn’t been taught not to do.

• Master one command at a time. Treats are a good start for an incentive, then work toward having the dog obey the command without a treat.

• Be consistent. Don’t use different kinds of words for the same object or the same command. Keep the decisions simple for your dog.

• Provide instant feedback: No! Yes!

• Keep the training sessions short yet frequent. Once or twice a day is pretty good.

• Incorporate what you’ve taught your dog into your daily routine.

• The five most basic items to teach a dog are: Sit, stay, down (or off), lie down and leave it. Test what you’ve taught your dog in different situations.

Spending a little time each day teaching a puppy to obey will go a long way toward a happy, healthy doggy.