In the first part of the interview with the Slovak musher Katarina Vigodová, we talked about how to prepare for a skiing trip with your furry friend. Today we are going to hit the skiing trails with Katka. What commands should the dog know? Why are a...
What is important for obedience training?
Each dog and dog breed has a purpose for which it was bred. Before getting a puppy, every future dog owner should consider why he is getting a dog, what are his expectations of the dog and what can he offer to the dog. A dog owner that intends to do sports cynology or hunting with his dog will have different requirements than a person who wants to get a dog simply as a companion. Another very important aspect that is increasingly important nowadays is that the larger the dog, the more the owner needs to be able to control the dog. This is important to prevent the dog from attacking people.
How do you know that a dog is obedient?
This depends on the point of view of the owner and other people around the dog. People living in the city, who do not have a dog and want to relax in parks in their free time, are not overly happy when an uncontrollable dog starts jumping on their blankets and backs, no matter how much the dog’s owner may see this as harmless play. To me, an obedient dog is one that is completely under the control of the owner and does not cause trouble, both to humans and other dogs. But, of course, this always depends on the owner and his approach to training.
What does obedience training involve?
Here we have to make a distinction between our goals with the dog. In sports cynology, these include various sets of exercises according to test rules. If we have a dog simply as a companion, then the most important thing is that the owner has his dog under control. This includes getting the dog to come, walking on a leash, being able to let the dog alone, for example, tied up in front of the store.
What commands should be trained?
Again, it depends on the reason why we got the dog. To me, the most important thing is getting the dog to come – which is applied in all areas of training.
How should obedience training begin? At what age should obedience training begin?
Definitely right when the dog is still a puppy. The puppy should know from the beginning that you expect certain things of it and that it has some responsibilities. I begin to teach obedience in the form of “you do, you receive.” This is a tactic where the puppy gets rewarded for every right thing you ask of it. So, if the puppy comes when you call it, you should reward it. The puppy then realizes that when it comes to you when called, it will get a treat. In sports cynology, it is the same, puppies and young dogs are taught everything using treats. This is called a motivational positive method where you reward the dog for doing the exercise correctly.
What motivation is used in obedience training?
For puppies and young dogs, I use treats, and dogs who already have at least partially completed the training, get rewarded with a toy they love. A ball, for example, is a great reward.
Is it better to contact an expert with the training or can we handle it ourselves at home?
Once again, this depends on the owner’s intentions with the dog. If we have a dog as a companion and have no great demands, most people will handle training their dog just by themselves. At the same time, however, it is important that the dog does not have a problematic character that could complicate home training. If you want to train your dog, pass exams, need to have the dog registered for breeding, or have a dog with problematic behavior, it is always good to visit an expert or a canine organization.
Are there any breeds that are taught obedience easier?
There are dog breeds specifically intended for obedience training, and there is the fundamental rule that the more a dog is temperamental and active, the more he is willing to work with you, because he really appreciates the possible rewards. On the other hand, dog breeds for which physical activities are not a priority need to be motivated more.
Can every dog be taught obedience?
Each dog has his limits, so the requirements for obedience training should depend on the nature, breed and capabilities of the particular dog. But every dog can learn basic commands.
Can we start obedience training in the adult age of the dog?
Obedience training can start at any age, but the sooner we start motivating the dog and demanding obedience from him, the easier it is for the dog. I always compare dogs to humans. Reaching an agreement with a teenager is always harder than doing so with a small child who is dependent on you and where you are his centre of the universe.
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