I am writing this on my patio. It’s a beautiful summer day and my dog Bracha and I just came in from paddle boarding. Yes, I take my paddle boarding and kayaking.
People are always amazed how she just sits or lays there being perfectly content as Daddy paddles away. Bracha enjoys the views as we pass each home along the lakeshore. I often wonder if she’s admiring their landscaping just as I do?
I am not sure what she looks at or what she admires during our lake time but she does enjoy it. I know she does because I left her in the house once and had to listen to her barking non-stop, protesting that I didn’t take her with me.
Two weeks ago I took her backpacking with me. We hiked the Manistee River Loop which is a 30 mile hike. We camped for two nights hiking 10 miles each day, never having a leash on her. We saw snakes, butterflies, birds, and several deer. I never worried about her taking off or chasing a deer we kicked up.
Why? Control. I have control of my dog and my control started at 8 weeks old when I brought her home.
When she was a puppy, she dragged a leash around. The leash is the number one tool in teaching control and not to run away. She never had the opportunity to run from me as she grew because she had a leash on her. Running away was not an option because if she tried, I just stepped on the leash. The leash was used to teach her to follow, come, and heel. The leash is also used to teach boundaries.
At 4 months of age I E-collar trained my dog. The E-collar is an invisible leash. Now, understand, I didn’t just put an E-collar on my pup and take off the leash. The leash and E-collar is used in unison until the dog understand the language of the E-collar. I have 100% control with the e collar as she drags a leash around.
When I am confident she is obedient and knows the language of the E-collar, the leash finally comes off. This is how I have the ability to take my dog anywhere and never need a leash. Many of our customers forget their leashes when they come to our facility because they never use them. It’s pretty cool.
Back to the kayaking and paddle boarding. This is done by having a solid sit, down, and stay. Your dog should sit, down, and stay in a variety of environments and in or on a variety of things, which we call “place.” Place means to get on it and sit until released. Or get on it and down until released.
Having all of this takes work and commitment. Do not expect your dog to know to be calm, have boundaries, and listen to commands without you training the dog. I often hear “the dog listens to me but not my husband.” That is because you work with the dog, have expectations and do not let the dog get away with things. Your husband on the other hand does not expect the dog to behave does not follow through with discipline or have any consistency.
That is the reason dogs listen to some family members and not others. When we have lessons we prefer to have the entire family present so everyone is on the same page. There are people that tell us “I can’t discipline my dog, it’s may baby.” My response is your dog is not going to change and he is going to continue to bite, jump, leash pull, and runaway. Do not spend money on training if you are not committed to follow instructions and following through.
Every single person that owns a dog can do fun things with their dog. You have to put in the work first to enjoy a lifetime of memories with your dog. Love your dog, love your dog’s behavior. Please contact the West Michigan dog training team at Adams K-9 Dog Training and Kennel, we offer free evaluations if you want a dog that listens and is a joy to be around.