obedience training


Michelle Boston
My 4 month old Maltese is very stubborn. I have tried all of the advice on how to make her mind, and unfortunately it doesn't seem to work. When, if ever, is it a good time to take her to a reputable obedience school? Please help! I am afraid that her lack of response to simple comands like 'come' could cause her a lot of harm!


cathy brown
I took Lucy to "kindergarten" obedience training when she was about 5 mo. She learned sit, stay, down, heel, and let's go very quickly (she was first in the class to do all the commands on command without a leash). She never did learn to do come--or should I say she chose not to do come and even with the instructor working one on one with her would only do it if forced into it (she's quite the stubborn child). Since "come" was one of the things I thought was really important, I was concerned. But as she's gotten older (and I think is more "bonded" with me, her mom)if I say Lucy come here, she will trot on over. I did work on it in MY way, as opposed to the obedience training method--I would call Lucy come here and when she did I gave her a treat. If she didn't come after a try or two (and she has this way of just standing there looking at you saying I hear you, but "I ain't comin' over there," I 'd just ignore her totally (leave the room) which she REALLY can't stand (and by the way, I took the bag of treats with me). Eventually she decided I could win, so long as she got a treat and now about 99.9% of the time she does come. Hope some of this is helpful for you.

Hi Tricia, I have a 10 month old, Lulu. She has been to puppy kindergarten and now is in novice training. She does very well in classes and at home practising with me but once we're outside with noises, people, cars, etc. she gets distracted and forgets everything she's learnt. I don't know what to do - do you have any suggestions?

Sure--Most dogs get distracted and forget everything when there are people, dogs etc around. One of the best place I have found to practice obedience is at the mall. There are always lots of good distractions there. I do a lot of talking to my dogs when I work them, so keep their attention on me. You can pat your leg etc., anything to keep their attention, but it is important to make them listen to you under all circumstances esp. if you plan to show in obedience. I put my dogs on a down stay and through balls, make loud noises bring in other dogs etc. They must behave and stay on command with all distractions. Your dog is still a pup, but she should be mature enough at this age to tolerate a reasonable 30-45 minutes of training if it is followed with some fun after. Remember to follow the hard stuff with a lot of praise. Training is mostly praise and fun. Hope this helps. Obedience is a lot of fun. I like to show in conformation, but I love working in obedience--and so do my dogs.

There is a very interesting book I am reading now I checked out from the library--it's called How To Talk To Your Dog by Jean Craighead George. The book helps you better train your dog and build a more understanding relationship. The author has shared her home with more than one hundred wild animals and dozens of domestic ones. She is fluent in dogese, catish, and birdic. Here long career as nature writer and member of a famous family of naturalists has put her in touch with the foremost animal behaviorists of our day, as well as with scores of ordinary people who, like her, have learned to talk to the animals by living intimately with them. I've tried some of the techniques and they work very well. I was amazed.The book shows you how to read the dogs body language--ears, tail, etc. Hope this helps.

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