Anyone Can Train Their Dog

By Art Hess

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Grandpa’s Dog Sense


dogtrainerMany of us inherited a lot of our “dog learnin’” from Grandpa, or it seems as such since often Dad didn’t have the time or maybe experience to patiently share some of these important life skills with a young lad. I have to confess that some of these may date back to my childhood or perhaps were shared with me by another codger or two who grew up in the company of folks who had a passion for dogs. That’s part of my roots for which I am forever grateful.

So what were some of Grandad’s pearl’s?

When the dog barks bring him in the house. Sure gets to the point and saves a lot of time arguing with the neighbor. If you don’t want the dog to chew up your riding boots, pick them up to where he can’t get at them. If you can’t do that leave the boots inside and put the dog outside.

If you don’t want the dog to beg at the table, don’t EVER, EVER feed him even one little scrap at the table. Now this one I remember personally. As a kid during haying, or harvest my mom would often feed a dozen hungry men a sit down meal at noon and I can still hear that little woman politely remind that crew to wash up outside, hang your dusty hats out by the door and don’t feed the dogs at the table. I’m old enough to not remember what I had for lunch yesterday but those lessons are etched in my mind.

If you don’t want the dog to jump up don’t ever acknowledge him or even pet him when he jumps up. Pretend you’re a tree. No look, no touch, no talk.

He reminded me of a little book by an old Scotsman who had trained everything from military and police dogs to herding dogs and this man said he never taught the Stay. His reasoning was he liked to keep things simple and why would you add a command when you had already told the dog to sit. Isn’t he supposed to stay in a sit until I tell him to do something else? If the dog is told to stand or to down, isn’t he supposed to keep standing or remain in the down position until he’s told to something else? Pretty hard to question that old boy’s logic.

One of my favorites from his hunting dog prizes was “watch your dog’s tail to tell you when he’s onto birds and then focus on his nose ‘cause he’s telling you which way they’re running”. I throw that in for all my old bird hunting buddies who can remember the thrill of watching your dog get onto game.

I love this one because he took great delight in reminding us that the dog isn’t deaf so quit yelling at him. All you’re doing is getting your dog all confused and nervous.

I’m sure there are plenty more gems but the point is Grandad didn’t have a bunch of books or the Internet or a battery of animal behaviorists but he sure had a ton of common sense and experience or maybe that’s just GOOD DOG SENSE.



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