New Series on Hiking with Fido: Everyday Training

I'm not a dog trainer.  I don't profess to be.  What I am is your everyday, run of the mill, dog owner. Correction: RESPONSIBLE dog owner.

I use the word responsible in describing myself, because, you see, I have been an irresponsible dog owner. I was once a dog owner that didn't understand dog behavior.  I didn't understand how dogs interact, what dominant behavior looks like, how they react to stress, or how to communicate with my dog in a way that she could understand. You see, at that time, because of my inattentiveness, my dog killed another dog.

She was a rescue.  She appeared docile.  She was 5.  I had a long history with the dog that she killed.  I knew him from a puppy.  When I bought my house, the owner of this dog wanted me to take him in because she was having a baby and thought she didn't have room. They appeared to get along for about a year or more.

One weekend I had a lot of family visiting from out of town.  I didn't realize it, but my dog was showing signs of stress. She lashed out at the smaller dog, because he was always asserting his dominance.  It was violent and it was ugly.  I cried for a year.

The light at the end of the tunnel, is that, after much deliberation, I decided not to put her down.  You see, I failed HER, she did NOT fail me. I failed her because although she was new to my house, I did not define rules and boundaries for her (or the other dog, for that matter). I did not create a language between us that could help us communicate.  And I certainly did not educate myself in the proper method to help a dog in stressful situations.

I promised myself that I would work with her. We walk everyday, and I take advantage of everyday situations that I could turn into mini training sessions.  These mini-sessions reinforce the private training that I did with her after this occurence.  I also promised myself (and my dog trainer) that I was NOT going to get another dog, until she passes.  (Of course my trainer told me that she wouldn't hold me to THAT promise).

Over a year later, I did rescue a puppy. . This is where Everyday Training starts.  It does not take the place of formal training. Rather, these are little training tips and tricks to help REINFORCE the trained behavior learned in group or private classes.

Training should never end. It continually builds trust and communication. Train by respecting your dog first, not spoiling them. When you do it right, it builds LOVE.

Train Everyday.  Peace Love...and Respect