Basic Obedience Training
We now know what a personal dog is, have decided on a breed and an adult dog so you may need to re-train an older dog.
TRAINING THE OLDER DOG
Part Three - The Personal Dog Series
All is not lost if you adopt an older dog OR you decide you want a personal dog using one of your kennel dogs. The key word here is DECIDE. Make the commitment that you really do want this dog to be your personal dog, then begin..
Change the rules, no more out in the kennel or in the yard alone. This dog is your companion. Put on a wide flat collar and leash and attach the dog to your belt. Your dog has just become an appendage. It is a little different with an adult or senior puppy because they haven't grown up in the mold. Even if they have been in the house it is a treat, or an occasional short-term event, not a way of life. Now the molding process begins.
It is easier to train an older dog because they are probably housebroken. At your desk put a mat, water bowl, and chewie. Keep the dog with you on leash. She must learn patience. She cannot be your companion if she requires patting and playing with all the time. Teach her, by the principle of inevitability, to be good. Get in the habit of taking breaks every few hours. Take her out in the yard TOGETHER and take a brief walk. It will do you both good.
Do not take her near the road unless you have previously taught (trained) her to not go down the drive. If we walk our dogs in the direction of danger when they are on leash or with us they think that is the direction to go. Always walk away from the road. Even in the best of situations, a dog can occasionally get loose so don't let them think that toward the road is where we walk.
The hardest thing in retrofitting a dog that already lives with you or that you have recently adopted is to remember that this particular dog LIVES at your left side. She doesn't get popped into a crate for convenience, or into the kennel, where you go so does she. The only exception is when you have to leave her because of social or safety reasons. Cars get too hot in the summer. Dogs can't go into stores. When she is left, always remove her collar and remind her that you'll get her as soon as you get back. And then do that. The minute you return home go get your dog, back on leash during the training process, and reestablish her at your left side. Or right side, whichever, always use the same side.
Most dogs think bath time for their Mom or Dad is most amusing. They lie down on the bathmat and sleep. Dogs are great sleepers.
Bedtime for a newly introduced personal dog is sometimes a bit of a short-term training challenge. Take your leash. If Flopsie sleeps the night thru quietly all is well, if not tie her to the headboard. Watch out to make sure you don't get decapitated by a quick leap.
A good bed dog sleeps quietly all night, without causing anxiety to her person by jumping off and on the bed. Mine are not allowed to jump off the bed once the lights go off.
If you've read the rest of these training tutorials you already know the rest of the routine. The most important thing is the commitment on the part of the owner to that particular dog, the dog will do her part.
One short story, you didn't think you'd get by without a story did you? Brucie and Sandy were my personal dogs for many years. Both of these lovely smooths were always with me. Bruce on the left and Sandy on the right. Sandy left us first and Bruce, of course, always stayed on the left. Then came Scruffy, after Bruce's death. She was on the left, then Tod joined us, he was the right dog. You couldn't force Tod to the left. Now there are Timmy, Rosie and Huck. Timmy is a right dog, Rosie immediate left, Huck far left. They religiously hold these positions. Even in bed. Good thing they are all relatively small.
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