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Companions, Workers, Helpers all on Four Legs!

Dec 14, 2007
Dogs over the years have become a very integral part of our lives. They are our loyal companions. They do not talk back, they do not judge us, they are there when we need their companionship and their help.

Today we use dogs for a wide range of tasks. There are dogs to lead the blind, help people in wheelchairs, visit sick people in hospitals, sniff out drugs and so much more.

Of course for a dog to get to this point, extensive training is necessary. For some dogs they are specifically bred for some of these tasks. For example the Seeing Eye breeds their own German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, Golden retrievers and Labrador/Golden crosses. These dogs spend time with a foster family until they are old enough to return for training.

It is the foster family's responsibility to love, care for and give gentle guidance to this possible future Seeing Eye dog. This dog will allow somehow who is visually impaired lead a normal independent life.

The foster family plays a very important part in the training process. They will be building the foundation for the intense training that these dog will go through.

They need to show this puppy as much of the outside world as possible. For example they need exposure to things such as traveling in a car, sounds, sudden noises, other animals, crowds etc. These dogs can not be spooked by these things when they are working as a Seeing Eye Dog.

If for some reason these dogs do not pass their training they are offered back to the foster family as a pet or are placed in a home or possibly another agency that will use the dog such as a police department.

Even though many of us that have dogs will never train our dog to this extent it is very important that we at least teach our dog the basics of obedience.

Our dogs need to learn how to walk on a leash, sit, lay down and come when called. Of course they also need to be housebroken. This training as I have said before starts the day we bring them home. You can't let that puppy run amuck for three months and then expect them to pick up on the training right away. You need to build the foundation blocks for future training.

One thing that people do seem to let a new puppy get away with is nipping. Some people seem to think since they still have their baby teeth it is no big deal. The nip just seems like a little love bite. What happens when your puppy outgrows those baby teeth and is still nipping? Well if you have a large breed dog I would say that someone could get seriously hurt. Even a small breed can do a lot of damage.

Would it not have been easier when the puppy first started this to correct it and refocus his biting over to an acceptable toy? Yes, I know, it is just so cute when they are biting your hand and growling when they are so small but it is not cute when they grow up and those jaws have enough force to not only break the skin but possibly break a bone.

Another thing that people tend to do when their puppy is small is to play rough with the puppy. The rough play does tire them out but unfortunately you are teaching them that this is acceptable behaviour. As they grow and become stronger they are going to be harder to handle. Wouldn't it be better to walk them or teach them to fetch a ball or a frisbee? This will also tire them out.

Even though you have introduced some bad habits right away these dogs are still very trainable. It may take a little longer, so remember to be patient when you are training. If you have the time and the patience you can teach you dog many things. Just training the basics is a good start but you can have so much fun teaching them other things as well. Not only will it tire them out but it will help you also.

Winter can be a miserable time of the year for those of us that get cold weather and snow. However I find it a great time to be out in the yard with the dogs. Their first snow has to be the funniest. Nothing to me is funnier than watching a dog catch a snowball and wondering where it went. The look on there face is priceless.
About the Author
As an owner of dobermans for the last 25 years Maureen Brownell recognizes the need of properly training your dog. She offers useful hints and tips on training your dog. Go to http://www.traineddogsrule.com for more hints and tips on how you too can have a well mannered dog.
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