Posted by: Adrienne | August 3, 2010


Some interesting thoughts have been percolating through my head for some time now on the subject of dog training.  A lot of it has to do with “formal training” and has revolved around the disinclination I am having to bring a puppy to “puppy classes”.

I’m not saying no-one should ever do so.  But Emma took me on a path of learning that I never would otherwise have gone down.  She was such a basket case when she came to me that I cast about in all directions to learn how to help her.  In the process we learned all sorts of things.  Some of these I had to un-learn, reject, throw out and backpedal on.  It hasn’t been the smoothest ride but it’s been interesting.

I have a rather vague and unformulated philosophy concerning teaching my dogs.  I would not presume to say “dogs” as a generality.  But the dogs under my immediate care.  Zoey went to a few classes, mostly so she wasn’t left out of things.  With her I simply applied what I had learned from my experience.  Never expecting her to do any formal sort of obedience, it’s really been much more about what I expect her to do to be a behaving member of the family.  And isn’t that what most families want for their dogs?   She might or might not sit the instant you ask her, but her recall is more consistent than Emma’s.  I also find that she has a more reasoned approach to situations and listens and responds readily to directions worded as full sentences.

Emma was started with clicker training.  She is now learning to relax, but her first response to a request she doesn’t fully understand is to try out two or three different things in rapid succession.  Anxiously.  And that is the difference.  Zoey might wait for more information but she isn’t stressing about an instant performance.  When she knows what you are asking then she will do it.

So I am terrifically disinclined to bring a puppy to puppy classes.  I would very much like a working agility dog.  But I want one on my terms.  I want to teach my dog and build the same sort of reasoned responses that I have with Zoey from day one.   Creating a true relationship is so important to me.  I no longer feel rushed to get a dog trialing.  Emma is doing well and will be for some years.  I have all the time in the world to bring a pup up slowly and match the training to his maturity level.  When we are ready we will compete.

I won’t stop going to handling classses with Emma.  They are way more for me than her on the teaching end.  Though we are being presented things I never would have learned about otherwise.  It’s nice to have someone critiquing my performance right now.  And for sure until I move into a level where my handling is consistent and good.

I also wish to see how my philosphy works out.  If I am on the right track I will be able to teach my dog.  If I am not it will be a botched mess.  But I don’t want interference from anyone else skewing things. 

My dog, trained my way.


  1. Hi, thank you in place of your stimulating informations. it helps me.

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