Fun Stuff, Life's Journey

How To Train A Dog

DSCF6744                                January 10, 2015

 

Two years ago on January 7, 2013, my husband and myself took on a new and unexperienced commitment.

  • We got a dog. Not just any dog, but an INDOOR dog.
  • In the past, we have had 2 dogs, 3 cats, many rabbits and have had to dispose of countless gold fish that did not survive being overfed by three little girls.
  • Except for the gold fish, the animals of our household (minus hubby and children) lived outdoors.

We are now in an isolated area that is a long distance from our children and other family members.

  • For quite a while, I had been thinking I might enjoy the companionship of just the right kind of a dog.
  • Had been researching breeds of dogs and had settled on two that would fit my criteria and our lifestyle.
  • The one I really wanted I figured was too pricy, so I set my mind on the second choice.

My husband had absolutely no interest and didn’t mind emphasizing his lack of desire for a dog.

  • Once our youngest spoke to him about my wanting a dog.
  • He made it quite clear to her that that wasn’t going to happen.
  • He liked to quote a sign we saw one time. “The kids are gone, the dog is dead, ain’t life grand.” 
  • We enjoyed laughing about that sign, but for me the lack of a social life was becoming not so grand.

We had just spent Christmas with our other daughter and her family in Colorado.

  • The first Saturday of the new year our son-in-law informed us that he had found a dog online.
  • He schedule a trip for us to go to the mountains to check out the dog.
  • Hubby wasn’t thrilled, but didn’t protest too much.
  • It turned out to be a VERY long day and trip.
  • That experience showed me that I couldn’t settle for second choice.
  • The dog didn’t stir the heart strings, so that was that.

We had a friend who bred the type of dog I hoped for, but he was now retired.

  • He contacted another breeder he knew who called us and sent pictures via email.
  • One captured my heart with his precious face. It was so full of his personality.
  • On Monday we made another trip to see his dogs.
  • I already knew that the dog for me was the one that had already captured my heart.
  • The first time I held him we formed a strong bond.
  • A price was quoted to us that was much less than what the breeder normally charged.
  • He later told his wife “I don’t know why I gave them that price.” But, I knew why.

So….we put the years of just the two of us behind and became a family of three. 

  • It was made quite clear to me (by an un-named someone) that it was MY dog.
  • My name was on the papers as owner and his care was MY responsibility.
  • I knew that and accepted the fact that I had made a commitment to this three pound, 10 week old puppy.

BOY, oh boy, did I ever make a commitment.

  • There was no turning back.
  • For a while I experienced days when I thought I should have had my head examined.
  • It was like having a new baby in the house again.
  • WOW. There were days when I thought I would never have my life back again.
  • Puppies are a big, time consuming job if you want to raise them right.
  • I had already told him “if you live in my house, you’re gonna live by my rules.”  

It seemed like he had to be cared for constantly.

  • He had to be fed timely and properly.
  • He needed to be house broken, taught to stay out of stuff, leave the trash alone and don’t tear things up.
  • And, above all……you don’t chew on wood.
  • Some days I thought I was going to spend my life in the kitchen keeping up with the antics of a puppy.
  • He was busy, would never sit or lay down on the floor; just always on the move.
  • He continually checked everything out and was as curious as a cat.
  • We couldn’t be gone from the house too long because we knew he would need to go outside to take care of his business.

By 1:00 p.m. he was so wore out that he went to bed (in his crate) for a long nap.

  • By then, I was exhausted too.
  • Not long after I sat down on the couch, I too would be asleep.
  • One time I had to be gone all day.
  • It was the first time hubby stayed with him.
  • I called home around noon to see how things were going.
  • He was just getting ready to put the dog down for the afternoon.
  • I reminded him he the dog needed to be up another hour.
  • I could hear the desperation and disappointment in his voice.

We did some research, sought a little advice, and learned many new things about dogs. 

  • They are pack creatures and they will follow the leader of the pack.
  • You are that leader; they need to be taught to respond to your direction.
  • A dog is obedient when you take care of him and lead him into good behavior.
  • Leadership will also enhance their sense of security.

The ancestors of today’s dogs lived in dens. 

  • In modern times, dogs still like smaller, safe spaces.
  • That’s why we use a crate. It is a place of safety. It is their den.
  • They also want to keep their personal space clean, which is an advantage to house breaking.

As they learn and grow, their territory needs to be expanded gradually.

  1. We started by keeping him in a pen in our kitchen.
  2. Next we kept him confined to the kitchen.
  3. When we let him expand to the living room, we shut all doors to the other rooms and gradually opened the doors one at a time.
  4. Now he has the run of the house.

They want to please their master and respond happily to praise.

  • This trait can make training worth all the effort.
  • A treat for a reward isn’t always necessary.
  • The love and kindness in your voice says much to a dog.
  • Giving a gentle pat goes a long way also.
  • You can use their need for positive reinforcement to train a pet that will give you much pleasure on your journey, and it gives them the assurance of acceptance.

If you stop to think about it, that sort of sounds like us; doesn’t it?

  1. We all need someone we trust to follow.
  2. We like our comfort zone and to know what our limits are.
  3. We appreciate rewards from time to time and acceptance by others.

That’s pretty simple, isn’t it? Why is it we need to complicate our lives with unnecessary baggage?

These words and thoughts may seem a little crazy to you. But, there are practical truths in them for us HUMANS to put into practice in our own lives.

  • Adore and be obedient to our Care Giver.
  • Give unconditional love to others.
  • Express our excitement and happiness more frequently. (wag your tail)
  • Be content with what we have.
  • Take life a day at a time.
  • Just for the fun of it…..turn around three times before we lie down.
  • Who knows, we might rest better.

Our little dog is now 2 years old and weighs 16 pounds.

  • He has matured, although he (humans too) still has more lessons to learn.
  • He is well on his way to bringing a new specialness into our lives.
  • He has wormed his way into my husband’s heart.
  • Which he gladly admits to all the time.
  • He praises him, tells him he loves him continually.

The three of us are now in the stage of enjoying contented companionship. We have made the discovery that while: we were training him, he was training us.

 

“Don’t accept your dog’s admiration 

as conclusive evidence that you are wonderful.”

(Ann Landers)

 

NOTE: Gentlemen, please forgive me, but as I edited this article, I could not help but  think of a subtitle for these words: “How To Train A Husband.” Sometimes my  sense of humor is a little wacky. Life is good no matter what happens, so just  laugh along with me. Your day will feel better.

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