Thursday, February 4, 2010

Dog Training

Life is about to change for us...big time. We will be picking up two miniature Australian Shepherd puppies this weekend. It's been about nine years since our last puppy, a Brittany spaniel. The dog before that came to us as a one-year-old several years prior. And before that, my husband and I, or should I say my husband, brought home a yellow Labrador retriever puppy about a year into our marriage. So to say the least, it has been a long time since I've done any serious puppy raising. But I'm banking on one thing being different this time. These dogs have got to be respectful and well trained.

As much as I love to Google things and reserve books from the library, it really helps to get first hand recommendations about things that are truly important. The last time our farrier was here to trim our horse's hooves, I asked him what his go-to resource was for dog training. He has a pit bull mix that is the most well adjusted, well behaved dog you could ask for. His comment was, "Cesar Millan. Get his books. Watch his shows. This man has it figured out." So off I went to see who Cesar was.

My mother knew about him. She apparently watches his Dog Whisperer show on National Geographic TV. There are also full length videos of his past shows which you can watch online. The library is full of his books and DVD series. He has his own website and blog at Good enough recommendation for me.

Cesar's approach is that there is a leader in every pack, and that leader had better be you...not your dog. Not an aggressive leader or one who is cruel. But someone who is confident that they are in charge and can recognize that no matter how cute your puppy is, he needs to be told what to do by someone he can respect and follow. The concepts he lays out seem to be solid, so that is the way we plan on proceeding. An interesting side note is that his basic premise applies to raising children as well. There could be some good lessons learned there as well I suppose.

I'm sure this puppy training will be fodder for many posts in the future, and hopefully we don't end up as a candidate for Cesar's dog rehabilitation program. We've had too many unruly, undisciplined dogs in the past, and I'm not about to slack off this time. May the pack leader rule!

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