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Obedience is essential…

I’m going to make an effort to make a serious post for the first time *ooooooh*  *aaaaaaaaawe*  Yes, I know.  Pretty spectacular eh?  Just sit there for a minute and let it sink in.  Okay, now that’s over with let’s move on.

We are of the belief that obedience training is essential for every single dog and their owner.  With a giant breed, it’ not just essential but should be mandatory.  An out of control chihuahua can be a handful, but a 100+ pound dog that behaves like a ticked off bee tied on the end of a string is downright dangerous.

We’ve been in Petsmart many times and seen people with Rottweilers, Mastiffs, etc. that are barking incessantly and lunging at any and every thing that is within a 10 yard radius. Not only is that a potentially dangerous situation, but it reflects poorly on the owners of large breeds as a whole.

I could go on and on about responsible pet ownership, get on my soapbox, and blah blah blah… but that’s not where I’m going with this, so please keep reading.

How many people do you know that got a puppy, it lived in the house for a short time, then got booted outside because it “just wouldn’t behave”.  I’ll go make a sandwich while you tally it up.  It’s somewhere around a bazillion, right?  It’s really cliche, but we believe that the problems don’t lie within the dog, they’re within the human.

It’s not our fault – puppies don’t come with instruction manuals, and we don’t have a pack instinct that automatically kicks in to tell us what to do.  We have to work at it.  We have to learn how to communicate effectively with our pets.  One of Cesar Millan’s famous lines is, “I rehabilitate dogs – I train people.”  There’s a LOT to think about in those six words.

Now don’t get me wrong.  I don’t believe that dogs should be our robots that power up, power down, never get to have fun, and are at our beck and call 24/7.  On the contrary, I believe they thrive within a pack setting where they know specific boundaries and what is expected of them, while still being able to have all their doggie fun.

Duchess is our second dog to go through obedience classes (Oliver the Anti-Social corgi was the first), and I’ll never have another dog that doesn’t go through at least two classes.  The classes give you a chance to really establish a pack leader bond with your pet and the rewards carry on throughout the rest of their (much too short) lives.

And even more importantly – it’s NEVER too late to start basic obedience training.  Whether your dog is 5 months old or 5 years old, they still are looking to you for leadership and to know what it is they need to do in order to be a member of your pack.

I urge you to find the nearest obedience training club (not a class taught at a mega-store… but the real deal Holyfield where classes are taught by people that have competed in competitions) and take your pet through a class.  They’re usually only 6-8 weeks long, which is a very, very small investment to make in the life of your companion.

So, if you have a new puppy – get to cracking and get signed up.  Even more importantly (in my opinion), if you have a dog that’s been banished to the backyard and only gets seen when they get fed, puhleeeeze make a commitment to do what it takes to get them back to being a close member of your family.

I’m not saying that after your first class that you’ll have a perfect dog that isn’t going to do anything wrong.  That probably won’t happen.  Think about it – don’t you have bad days where you screw up?  Your dog will too.  Just laugh it off and keep on working at it.

When you brought that little furball home, you made a pledge to take care of it in the best way possible.  Much like humans, some dogs just take a little more care than others so don’t get discouraged!

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