Dog training for pups that are a little older than a few weeks can be challenging. Not only are pet parents asked to add new cues to their dogs vocabulary,they are tasked with guiding the dogs to UN-learn behaviours that are not so welcome. That’s just what these hard working dogs and their peoples took on in the Petsmart Beginner dog training class. And they graduated with honours just this week!
Dog Training Pays Off
Duke the Labrador is just one and a half years old and full of energy. His whole family – Matt, Stephanie and kids Beau, Sierra with little baby Nicholas – were all on board to help channel that boundless energy into doggy behaviour that was a easier to factor into family life. For example, walking nicely on leash is super important when there is a baby stroller to take into account.
As it turns out, Duke loved learning! He can now do dozens of puppy push-ups as well as a very nice loose leash walk. We were able to wean Duke off the prong collar and onto a front-lead harness. That changed the dynamic fundamentally. Reinforcing his good behaviour with yummy treats help a whole bunch too!
Rescued Mastiff Dog Training
Lori and her daughter Janelle have profound empathy for animals. They live and work on their farm with horses, and it was through that work that they originally met Cleo the Mastiff. Cleo is a particularly sensitive, shy soul. Likely out of fear and a sense of being overwhelmed, she had become reactive to her first owners, to a degree that they felt they could no longer keep her. Lori rescued her, knowing Cleo would have to reform or met a worse fate.
Happily, through the course of Beginner classes, we discovered that Cleo actually had a strong foundation in basic obedience commands. By the end of six weeks, she willingly followed Lori and Janelle’s cues for Watch, Sit, Down, Stay; Heel and Roll Over.
So what we focused on was socialization. Cleo was reactive to certain people and most dogs. That’s when she would either cower or lift a lip as a means to keep a distance from what she perceived as strangers, two-legged or four. By giving her more confidence through re-learning – and being consistently rewarded for – those basic cues, Lori and Janelle earned her trust and lessened her fears. In our graduating session, she and Duke were doing doggy drive-bys right in the middle of the store aisle, cool and under control – an act that was impossible for either dog five weeks earlier.
Special kudos to Duke’s Beau and Sierra and Cleo’s Janelle – kids make super great dog trainers!
If you are interested in joining a dog training class at Petsmart, explore the classes online then come on over and sign up anytime.