"Properly trained, man can be a dog's best friend" ~ Corey Ford
Just the other day I was called out to do an in-home evaluation on a 5 months old dog, who was causing a bit disturbance in the house. This dog was a bit insecure and would bark and react to most things - especially people coming to the door, such as me - but the bigger issue was the jumping on the young daughter.
When I come to a house, I gather a lot of information as soon as I even approach the door: how the dog reacts to the knock/doorbell; How the owner handles the dog; If aroused, how long does it take the dog to calm down; etc. etc.
Now this particular dog was definitely insecure, would easily get aroused and would continue to bark bark bark at me even though I ignored her, until........MAGIC!! Yes, I am a dog trainer, who runs around with magic pixie dust in my pocket to throw at the dog...the only thing that works! Seriously !! However. you might know it under a different name: Treats! Yep - that simple. Treats! After tossing a few treats towards this barking fluff ball, she soon decided to activate her brain and now I could even look at her before tossing her a treat - without any barking. My point here is this:
if your dog is insecure about something, then help your dog change it's emotional state of worry to something more pleasant, by creating a positive association using food! The point is to make the dog still feel safe, which is why I tossed the treat to the dog - yes even behind the dog . This allowed the dog to make its own decision, when to come see me. But until ready, I was still this awesome lady with awesome treats who didn't impose a threat ....(FYI: This exercise works wonders. )
Now this particular dog had had no training, been to no class , had really no skills, but she was (and still is !) very food motivated, so within a few minutes , she had learned to offer a sit for attention, come in to sit, laying down, nose touches and follow me game. This dog was ready to WORK! She loved the attention, the interaction and was super eager to learn!! Such a firecracker and every trainer's dream: Great drive, focus and willingness to offer behavior. Within a short time, both owners were really impressed with her and could see how ready this little fluff ball was to get some training. Which really leads me to the purpose of this blog post:
Just because your dog might be small, don't underestimate your dog's eagerness (and need!) to learn. Through training , not only do we teach them skills, but also confidence in themselves, so they can handle the surrounding world much better. Just think how overwhelming the world must be for a 5 lbs chihuahua or a 7 lbs yorkie? Build your dog up to be the best they can be. And get ready to be amazed by how much they will teach you in the process. A small dog might be small in size, but mighty at heart.
Let the training begin.....or continue :)
As a dog trainer and animal lover, my wish is to help educate the owners, so they can have a harmonious relationship with the animal(s) in their lives. A relationship based on knowledge, trust and respect.