Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Name Game

Your dog's name can make a difference in how he listens to you. Let me explain! When deciding on a name for your pup, keep in mind that dogs love the higher up sounds. So, having a name end in ie or a long ee or even aa is music to their ears! Dogs think high tones are fun and good times, low tones are potential warnings (like a growl).

When naming a pup, it's a great idea to have a name that you enjoy. However, try to stay away from the names that end or begin in an "O". Remember, if you're using the word "NO", then a dog named Domino might think he's in trouble.

Names that don't end or begin in O are certainly ok - but be sure your dog likes the sound. It's easy to "test drive" a name on a puppy or dog. We did that with a rescue that we eventually adopted. He came with the name Winston. We tried out some names on him, with no response. Then one day my husband and I were talking and he asked what I thought of the name Flint. I said "Flint?" and immediately the boy turned his head and looked at me. I used it again a couple times and he obviously loved the sound. So Flint he became and he loved his name (and so did we!).

If you're adopting a dog, rename him immediately. Let his past life go as well as the name. No need to remind him of that as he's your's now. His new name will give him a new life. And, you'll be naming him, so he'll mean even more to you! This goes for dogs that you know, as well as dogs that come from foster homes. New name - new life with you. Always change it!

Remember, his name should make him want to stop, look and listen! So nothing negative ever goes with his name. No, " bad dog" or using a low menacing "fluffy...what are you doing?" Only happy tones with his name - if he doesn't look at you, your command to him will most likely not be "heard". So play saying your dog's name and rewarding them with kisses, hugs and an occasional treat. They'll love you even more for it!

Have a howling happy day!
Deb, Everee, Corky and Eli

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Finding a Good Trainer

Wow, I did some checking and there are alot of folks out there "training" now. In the days I started you were lucky to find just a few of us.

Here's some thoughts on finding the trainer that is right for you. First, it's always good to get a referal, either from a friend or even better your vet. Veterinarians hear alot of the good and bad of their client's training experiences.

Always call and chat with the trainer/owner of the business. There are a few certifications you can have as a trainer, but to be honest, they all require you passing a written test, which is fine, but book learning and years of experience are really two different animals. A good trainer has been doing this for longer than just five years. They have dogs that have titles, either with AKC or other venues that prove they are able to train their OWN dogs to do more than just sit and stay. They are involved in other organizations. Hopefully they give their time and expertise to these folks as well for either a lower rate or even better free. A good trainer not only has to have a deep well of knowledge, they have to be able to relate it to other folks. Nothing worse than a trainer that comes up to you, tells you you're doing it wrong, but doesn't have any other ideas to help you! How often I've heard folks who say their dog "flunked" training school. Nope, they didn't flunk, the trainer did.

Be sure you go and watch a class before you sign up and turn over your money to someone. There are many approaches to training, and we certainly don't train all the same. Even folks who "say" they use positive training - it's all how they perceive it, there's nothing written in stone in what that actually means.

So take your time checking out your potential trainer - you will be trusting them with one of your most treasured possessions, your relationship with your dog!

Deb Schneider
Corky the yorky, Everee the border collie, Eli the bloodhound