By: Joel Allen
So do I. There is nothing better than a well-behaved dog who becomes that next family member. Just a quick note to all my readers, there are many dogs waiting at the shelters and pounds who are already well behaved. Most are there by circumstance. Believe me when I tell everyone a dog that enters your life will always act differently. Many will be grateful and some, sadly, will not be so quick to trust. Those that seem this way have been through a trauma we can only imagine, and when they are mistreated, that is evil.
Case in point: Many years ago my Aunt Angie witnessed some kids beating a puppy in the head with a brick. She immediately took the dog away. They threatened to call the law, and she told them to go ahead. I won’t elaborate too much, just leave it at no one messed with Angie. So, she treated this puppy and, of course, the dog was never right in the head after that. His name was Bowser. He was a German shepherd mix and huge like a Great Dane. He was goofy and very loving all the time. Thanks to Angie and Uncle Herman, Bowser lived a full life and was happy.
Proverbs 12:10 A righteous man regardeth the life of his animal; but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.
Now, let us talk about finding a trainer. What I recommend is to shop around. Don’t just look at how much it will cost but the quality of training that is offered. Does the possible future trainer seem knowledgeable and confident? Do they seem patient and willing to answer your questions fully? What training do they offer? Then find out how much the cost will be if the training desired is being offered. Some trainers will offer the chance for visiting and observing the training being given to other clients in a group setting. If this opportunity is offered, I recommend that you take it.
There is another question to consider. What kind of training is being sought? Will it be private, or is group training what is needed? Prices are always different between private and group training. Private training is usually more because it is “pay as you go,” whereas, group training is a bundle package price for a set time. Private training is customized to what everyone would prefer their dog to learn at home; whereas, group training is offered in a structured order and taught once a week at a location agreed upon, depending on the trainer’s discretion. Private lessons are, most of the time, only done with one dog; group training incorporates more than one dog, thus giving a social setting for your canine family member to learn to get along with other dogs and be less distracted or fearful.
Age can be a key factor in finding a trainer. Some trainers, like myself, do not normally train puppies younger than 6 months. If we do train any puppy younger than 6 months, there are special circumstances involved. In most cases it will be because the puppy is being groomed for service dog work. But our main reason for not training so young is the need for full vaccinations against diseases. This protects your canine family member(s) and ours.
Now a lot will also depend on your dog’s behavior too. As trainers it is our duty to protect the safety of your dog and the others we train with. If we have any aggression issues, they are addressed and resolved. In some cases we have made accommodations for fearful dogs in our classes. Remember one thing I cannot stress enough to all our clients, if the client is nervous the dog will sense it and be nervous too. So, take a massage, hot bath, or meditate, but try and come to class relaxed. Your dog will thank you for it.
Note to all: I recently had foot surgery; so I will not be available to assist anyone training their dog for many months. I can advise but as for any physical activity, the doctor says, “NO!” Fortunately for me, I have successfully prepared Frank and Zoey, my two service dogs for this. They walk well with power chairs and my knee scooter. For now, unless something happens, Andrea Perlce-Navarre will be covering any training anyone needs. Her number is 256-724-2142. She is as knowledgeable as myself and we are fellow alumni.
By: Joel Allen