It is simple to own a dog right? You go to the shelter and pick out a cute little puppy or a calmer older dog, you sign some paperwork and complete the transaction and you are on your way. You did it!
Your blissful dog relationship begins now!
Not so fast.
Dog ownership is not so simple. Not everyone will end up with the same dog they discovered at the shelter. Once in a home environment that same dog can act up, act out or develop traits over time that are unbecoming.
I should know; I’ve been around quite a few of them over the years.
They say it takes a village to raise children and honestly it sometimes takes a village to raise dogs too. Three people to be exact:
1 - You! Yes, without you your dog would be stuck in the shelter, or worse…..
2 - Me! Yes, your dog needs a dedicated & loving pet sitter when you are gone away enjoying that well deserved vacation.
3 - A Trainer! Dogs need to learn etiquette & manners just like we all do. Some need more work than others.
Let me dwell on number 3 for a minute because it is sooooooo important! This is probably your biggest and best investment of dog ownership (yes, even above a good pet sitter). If you do nothing else, take time to invest in a good dog trainer. It will make your life easier. It will make your dog’s life easier. It will make every single person who comes in contact with your dog life easier - friends, family, groomers, pet sitters, kennels, veterinarians, strangers, at the dog park, delivery people, house cleaning staff, house repair or maintenance/yard staff. That is a lot of people!
I have witnessed first hand the stellar improvement in one of my clients dogs - I tell you it is like night and day after just a short time of training with a good trainer. Truly amazing improvement! This dog was like a restless toddler - or maybe like a toddler with ADHD is more like it. He completely overwhelmed me at times. One time while I was busy cooking dinner for maybe 30 minutes, he chewed into a pillar inside the house. He chewed through to the sheet rock and was so efficient at eating up all the “crumbs” that I didn’t even notice it until the next morning, much to my horror. Now he is no longer like a toddler with ADHD, he is like a young adult - much more relaxed and obedient. I wouldn’t believe it if I didn’t see for myself the new and improved version of him.
That is just one recent example of the ways in which dog training can make for a better quality of life for you and for your dog! It takes investment and reinforcement but it will pay off! You owe it to your dog and to yourself!
One recommendation I have heard more than once is The Canine Center for Training and Behavior here in Austin. Particularly, I have heard Curtis Stringer is amazing and the example above is due to his training.
No, I do not know Curtis, nor am I getting paid to endorse the Center. As a witness to what good training can produce and correct in animal behavior, I simply want to encourage you not to skimp on dog training if it is something your dog(s) clearly need.
If you have any great dog trainer recommendations, feel free to post in the comments below! Lets help others in our community have well-trained, happy dogs and owners!
Everyone in your dog’s life (including your dog) will thank you, trust me.