Obedience in your dog: is it worth it?

Obedience – why your dog will thank you for it

I’m such an old nag.  Always going on about practising this obedience with your dog, work on that with your dog.  Then they will be better behaved and your problems will be gone.  Really?  Or am I just saying that because I have ‘easy collies’?  Yeah, it’s probably that.

This week, I have had a few occasions to be grateful that my dogs are well behaved.  And a few times when I have found myself feeling sorry for a dog who has not been trained to behave nicely. This morning, for example, the girls and I encountered a lovely looking Labrador up in the woods.  He was on lead, and as my girls filed past at a safe distance, not making eye contact (miserable buggers I know!) he leapt across the path towards them in a joyous, exuberant way.  The woman holding him was hanging on for dear life (he was much stronger than her) and making placatory comments to him.

The lifestyle of your dog

I confess I felt really sad for that dog.  I considered the life of my 5 Border Collies:

  • An hour’s walk off lead every morning, in 5-6 different locations each week
  • Free access around the large house and garden for the rest of the day
  • At least one really mentally and physically challenging training session per week
  • Life in a pack of 5 dogs – with plenty of companionship, play and engagement with each other
  • Regular, daily training sessions with me, either on walk, at home or in class
  • Busy (and now Luna) also goes into school for 3 hours per week to work

What does your average single dog in a family home get, if he’s lucky?  A walk, on lead, along the same paths?  Cuddles and pats from family members?  Toys to play with?

It’s no wonder then, that this dog is absolutely beside himself to see 5 potential playmates go by.  You would be too, wouldn’t you?  But equally, if some large person came rushing into your face, you would not say “how lovely to meet you” would you? Training that dog would:

  • engage his brain
  • reinforce his relationship with his owner
  • allow him to actively engage with other dogs without being a pain in the arse!

Obedience and safety

Another reason for having dogs that understand obedience is when an emergency arises.  Of course if your dog is always on lead, they probably won’t run towards danger, but what if (like this morning’s Labrador) they are really strong and get away from you?  How would you cope if they were running off towards a road?  Do you remember Fenton?

Incidentally, I saw a muntjac out in the open up on the Heath this morning, searching for a drink.  So deer are a real issue.

Stop the dog

This is the training you need.  It’s not competition level obedience, just an ability to make your dog wait when you need it to.  Something like this:

Now I am not going to promise that if you teach a stop, you will be able to prevent your dog from ‘doing a Fenton’, but maybe you could stop them from chasing one deer?

Stay calm

I was happy to have some obedience in the puppy when she went into the lake earlier this week.  Due to the drought, the level of the water had dropped so much she struggled to get back out onto the bank.  As soon as I realised, I scrambled down the bank towards her.  It was my turn with the platitudes; it’s OK I’m coming to get you, wait there.  And do you know what?  She did!  Ounce waited calmly, until I got to her and hauled her out by the scruff of her neck.

A final video then, showing me messing around.  I saw someone being able to say their dog’s name and then give them an individual command.  I have tried this, but as you can see, when I say ‘down’ they all tend to go.  This is because I regularly put them all into a down at once.  So I decided to have a go at calling them out of line and then giving them a command.  Mixed results.  But a bit of fun in the sun. Play with your dog it might save their life?

Ask for help?

You are very welcome to CONTACT ME to ask for my advice.  I can help you with a variety of issues and problems around getting a dog and suggestions for tackling training issues.  Go to the What Dog? page for more information on my service.

Please let me know if you have found this post helpful?


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