Thanksgiving. Friends and family are visiting. A family member accidentally leaves the front door open, and your dog takes off. I hope you have trained for this day…
All good training begins with the proper end picture. Then train for that goal.
What is the proper end picture? For me, I want my dog to be well mannered in the home and in public, good with children, willing to please, affectionate and accepting of all my friends and family, and obedient up close and in public up to 100 yards away. What will you expect of your dog? Next, what are you going to do so your dog can live up to that end picture?
In martial arts, they will tell you to train like you would have to fight. Watching Bruce Lee movies isn’t training, they are entertainment. Watching old Lassie TV shows isn’t dog training, it is entertainment. Real training means working you and your dog in scenarios that would mirror the realistic situations that might or will happen.
I do this with all my dogs, and I train my students to do the same. For example, one of my students last year wanted to take their dog to the ocean beach in California, off leash. So, we trained for that eventuality. When they got back home after their vacation, the training we had done to prepare worked out perfectly. They knew what to do, the socialization and training of their dog made the dog safe and controllable. We got there by doing a variety of exercises and scenarios to prepare for what they would most likely encounter. They started with an end picture, we trained for that end picture, and that end picture was realized.
I think choosing a qualified instructor is essential to this result. You might be a great architect, but I’m not. I wouldn’t try to design a house on my own. I’m a great dog trainer, but you are not, and it is a mistake to try to duplicate what I know and can do on your own. If you don’t know me well, check out my background at my web page. It is all there and can all be verified.
Once you have that end picture, and we are ready to begin lessons, the game is on.
That Thanksgiving story above actually happened. Fortunately, the dog and owner were well trained by that point. The owner told the dog to Come (from now a great distance away, across the street, on another property), the dog instantly responded, came to the front door, was let inside, and all went perfectly. That was a life and death situation. We had already prepared and trained for this “fight”, and the dog and owner won.