Not all dogs can be trained – Part 1

All dogs can be trained, but the same cannot be said for all dog owners!

Most people imagine that dog training at obedience schools and puppy schools is about training the dogs, but this is a fallacy, because the dog owners are being trained just as much as the dogs, and it is the humans who often have or cause the problems, and not the dogs. Most dogs aim to please, but they need to be absolutely clear about what their people want them to do, and it is often the inconsistency or lack of patience of their human that causes them to be confused and untrained’.

One of the commonest problems people have is a lack of patience. Many people think a dog can be trained in a week or a month, but it can take years to train a dog properly, depending on the dog’s intelligence, the breed, the time you put into it, and the level of training you are trying to achieve. Training must be repeated often, and five minutes a day is much better than an hour at obedience school just once a week. Losing patience with a dog is also often counter-productive as the dog does not understand how to please you, which is what most dogs want.

Another common problem is inconsistency. It is no good telling your dog to drop’ one week and down’ the next. Your commands have to be consistent, and your hand signals have to be consistent and crisp. Some owners let a dog get away with something one time and then punish it the next time it does it, and the dog does not know what is right and what is wrong. It is really important to be consistent, or the dog will become confused about what you expect.

A third problem is that of making the training a chore rather than making it fun for both dog and person. Training should always be fun and quality time’ with the dog. If you find yourself becoming irritated, then it is better to leave training for the moment and start again when you are in a better mood.

Over the years I have seen numerous dogs their owners said were untrainable. Yet in the hands of a good trainer these same dogs are heeling, sitting and behaving themselves perfectly in minutes.

Can all dogs be trained? As in human beings there are rare individuals who are psychiatrically unbalanced or psychotic, and dogs with such problems might be difficult to train or need specialist help to train them. If you are aiming for great heights in dog obedience trials you may find that some breeds of dogs just do not have the intelligence to reach the levels you are aiming for. But all dogs can be trained to behave well and learn basic commands.

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