Don Robertson guest blogger
I’ve been hanging around on the periphery of the dog world for a number of years now. My lifetime partner is a committed dog person so the majority of my interaction involves repairing damage and retrieving shit, but with that comes some opportunity for learning, if only by absorption.
So what I’ve absorbed so far is that the most stressed and erratic dogs we get in the boarding kennel are also the least trained. Untrained dogs, do not understand that there is someone else in charge of the situations in which they find themselves, and therefore take on the responsibility of Head Honcho themselves . This can be very stressful. I avoid it myself whenever possible. The roll of Head Honcho may involve aggression, aloofness, irritability and all the other signs we’ve all seen in bad bosses.
Basic obedience training reassures the dog that someone else is in charge and they can relax and be themselves. This does not necessarily work with bosses but from what I’ve observed is very effective with dogs. In the teenage vernacular "their like cool you be in charge, I'm gonna play".
Dogs with even rudimentary obedience training accept the condition that someone else is in charge and are more laid back, easier to handle and more contented.
Come to think of it, I'm pretty laid back, contented and easy to handle myself. Hmmmm?
Unless you have seen a dog trained with an electronic collar it is hard to believe just how fast dogs can be trained. Since time is a big factor in our busy world this form of dog training becomes a very attractive option for many family dogs.
Most people assume that electronic collars are only for problem dogs, but the truth is even the softest dogs can be trained very effectively with an electronic collar.
If 100% reliability is also a part of the training requirements that you want for your dog then electronic collars are your very best choice.
Don’t go out and buy the cheapest collar that you can find. There is a huge difference in the quality of the collars that are available. A good electronic collar absolutely MUST be rechargeable. The ones that take batteries don’t last nearly as long as the rechargeable collars. There is also a huge difference in the stimulation that is delivered with the rechargeable collars having softer and better graduated increments in the levels.
Most of the criticism of electronic collars is based on the assumption that the collar is used only to punish a dog for doing something wrong. This is not the most effective way to train a dog because the dog quickly learns that the collar is responsible for the punishment and will quickly go back to the bad habits you are trying to stop.
Electronic collar training is better understood as a form of communication. Consider that not all communication is verbal. A lot of communication is visual and some of it is also tactile.
Tactile stimulation is often merely a tap on the shoulder or even a caress. Electronic collar training is the best form of tactile stimulation and because of this it has been used for deaf dogs with great success. Because the levels of electronic collars can be easily adjusted the collar can be most effective when used in the most distracting environments
A best way to train a dog with an electronic collar is to train in conjunction with positive reinforcers like food. If the dog is trained with a level that feels little more than a mosquito bite and with the addition of food, all dogs can be easily and happily trained with an electronic collar. In this form of training the dog is trained to perform in a reliable, gentle way. The dog is shown that coming back to the owner is the way to stop the stimulation from occurring and from there every other behaviour is added to the training repertoire. Training includes not pulling on the leash, sitting quickly when the owner stops and one of the best things it includes is place. Place means that the dog will not leave a designated spot even if someone is at the door. In my house we have to be very careful if we are handling our electronic collars because our dogs absolutely love them. All their training has been done in a positive way, often using food or toys as rewards.
When it comes to reliability nothing quite compares to electronic collar training.
Socialization is vital to the mental and physical development of dogs. Socialization should begin in the birth home of the puppy. Good breeders will introduce puppies to stable older dogs so that they begin to learn appropriate dog behaviour. Of course a huge part of their social development occurs with their mom and their litter mates. This socialization should be continued in their new homes and continue for the life of the dog.
However the period of time from about 8 weeks when your puppy comes home to 5 months is a critical period of time for your puppy. It is absolutely imperative that owners take advantage of this tiny window of opportunity to provide the social experiences that their dog is going to need for the rest of its life. Failure to do so will result in dogs that are difficult to live with at best.
Depending on your breed of dog and how it was raised, puppies go through fear periods when potentially threatening experiences can have profound effects on your puppy.
But perhaps doing nothing with your puppy can be even more devastating for the future well being of your dog.
Puppies need to have as much exposure as possible to new and safe experiences. Take them to as many places as you can think of. Most puppies can fit in a smallish crate in even the smallest of cars. Take them to clean areas to avoid the risk of any infection before they have completed all their vaccinations. I take my puppies in a canvas shopping bag to ensure they are not touching the floor and to prevent any accidents. This only works for a short period of time as they increase in weight but it makes it possible for them to visit many places. My bank tellers love it when I walk in with a new pup in my bag. As they get older and have had their shots take them down busy streets, into pet food stores and in clean and safe parks where they can meet new people. Take them in elevators and on stairs. Take them to fields and forest trails. Let them experience life.
Introduce your puppy to safe, puppy friendly older dogs. If you know of someone that has a kind and gentle puppy, that will work too but beware of puppy bullies. Intervene in any rough play immediately if you feel that your pup is not happy or showing any signs of fear at all.
Once your pup reaches the ripe old age of 5 months the main period of socialization is over for good. You can still socialize your dog but it will require a far greater effort for very small gains.
The first sense that a puppy develops is the sense of smell. And for the life of your dog that will remain his first and foremost sense as he learns to explore the world that he lives in.
It is estimated that the dog’s sense of smell is about 2,000 times greater than a human’s sense of smell.
Humans determined long ago that it might be a good idea to put that natural ability to good use. And so many dogs have been partnered with their human companion, to hunt with their nose or track with their nose. Others have been trained to detect drugs, gas leaks, and many other things. It seems that there is no limit to the dog’s ability to find things through its sense of smell.
If you ever thought about doing something with your dog but are not keen on the discipline required to train for obedience, agility or Rally you might consider a sport that is a lot less rigorous. No running involved at all! Exploring the world of canine scent detection is a totally positive and rewarding sport that gives your dog a job to do that he already knows how to do better than you do! All that you have to do is teach him exactly what it is that you want him to find and go from there. Sport scent detection is a new dog sport that includes dogs from every size and shape. Any breed or mix of breeds can be involved in doing scent dog work. All that is required is a nose!
Nose work training teaches your dog to find one of three scents, wherever you decide to hide it. In nose work competitions, there are four locations involved in searching: interiors, exteriors, containers, and vehicles.
Canine scent detection is good for shy dogs, older dogs and some dogs that are not as comfortable in strange places. It gives them a job to do that involves a skill that they already possess.
Nose work training begins with encouraging the dog to hunt. This is encouraged through the use of positive reinforcement, while you learn how to read your dog’s body language to determine when your dog has found the required scent. Positive reinforcement can be food, a ball or something like a tug toy.
Gradually scent detection is enhanced and developed by encouraging the dog to search in increasingly difficult locations and with less and less scent.
We are pleased to announce that we are again teaching a canine sport scent detection class in November. This class will be held in Peterborough and limited to only 6 students.
If you have decided to buy a puppy, there are some things you need to know in advance. Puppies are in a litter with their mom for about 8 weeks. Toy breeds should stay a bit longer because they are slower maturing. Puppies need to stay with their litter because this is the time that they learn their social skills. It is much like children in day care and grade school. They learn how to read other kids and how to react appropriately.
They also learn bite inhibition from their siblings and from their mom. Even singleton puppies will learn these things from the mother. Don’t ever let a breeder talk you into taking a puppy younger than 7 weeks. A breeder is there to make sure her puppies are everything they should be, well socialized, healthy and confident pups.
Look for a breeder who does things with the puppies. Getting puppies out of the litter box and out on a walk with their mom and siblings prepares them for the real world. They learn how to negotiate walking through stones and grass and they are introduced to a world of new smells. If your breeder has not done things like this with your puppy, you can do some of this yourself as soon as you get the puppy home. Most puppies will stay right with you, so let the puppy drag a very light leash so that it gets used to the leash. Gradually start picking the leash up and encourage the pup to go with you on the leash.
Take your pup everywhere you go as long as the weather is not extreme. Take them in the car right away. Take them to pet food stores and anywhere else that it is safe and clean. Be wary of dirty pathways where a lot of dog fecal matter is lying around as your dog can pick up nasty virus before it is fully vaccinated.
Get your puppy a crate and crate train your dog. This is very important if your dog ever has to spend time at the vet or in a boarding kennel.
All this applies doubly so to farm dogs! Because they so rarely get off the farm they need to develop some socialization skills at an early age. It takes very little time to prepare a dog for trips to the vet. Your dog will be happier for it as well your veterinarian.
Puppies at this age do very well with some easy obedience training that is done with a clicker. It is not for everyone but if you want to do some obedience later on this is the time to start it.
Feeding puppies is fairly straight forward. Put the food down for the puppy. Give him 5 to 10 minutes to clean it up and pick the empty or partly empty bowl up. Don’t bother the dog while it is eating and don’t let the kids bother him either. Just walk away and leave it alone. If you have more than one dog, feed the puppy separately at first so the other dog does not steal the pups food.
Always keep in mind that everything they do at 8 weeks they will continue to do at 8 months. So if you are not okay with your dog jumping up and getting on furniture, now is the time to stop that.
It will be fall soon and the kids will be going back to school. And fall classes begin for just about everything that you can think of. So why not take the family dog to a class.
For the first time ever, we are offering group classes through the winter in Peterborough.
These classes are great for any dog of any breed or mix. In the class you will learn a lot of skills that make it easier to walk your dog on a loose leash. Your dog will learn to be responsible for some of his own behaviour like staying in one spot in the face of distractions. Distractions are an important part of dog training and we use them in a variety of ways.
Classes of this nature also help to prepare owners and dogs for upcoming obedience competitions, if you have an interest in doing something more with your dog. This class lays down the foundation for a “Companion Dog” title and most of the exercises for Novice Rally. It will also prepare dogs for the Canine Good Neighbour test, if you need to do this for any therapy dog course.
In addition to the Novice Obedience Class, we are also offering competition level classes for Open and Utility classes. This class will lay down some very simple basic skills that will prepare you to go on to the higher levels in dog training. We will transition from heeling on a leash to off leash heeling and begin to include drops on recall and retrieving exercises.
If this seems like something you may be interested in, please give me a call at 705-652-0682 and we can discuss your dog’s training.
Of course, we still do private lessons at our location north of Lakefield so if you need help with a particular problem please call to book a private lesson.
Your dog pulls on a leash and never comes when you call him. You have been to obedience classes and he still pulls on the leash and still runs away when you call him. He is stealing food from the counter and just ate your new shoes. He jumps on the kids knocking them over and if the door is open for a second….he’s gone.
If this sounds like your dog it’s time to consider a remote collar. That great dog that you always wanted could be sitting right there at your feet while you are reading this article. You just need a way to find that wonderful pet. A remote collar can do that.
I know what everyone says…”well it has to hurt the dog if it is going to work…right?” WRONG. The remote collars today are so sensitive that the dog feels something that is more akin to a mosquito bite than anything else. Sure remote collars do use a shock but my own personal dogs work at a level that I can’t even feel. All the training is done with the collar set at a level that the dog just barely notices. Some dogs notice the collar at a very low level and some don’t even sense it at all till the level is a bit higher. We recognize that each dog is an individual and no two even of the same breed are the same so the training program is adjusted to fit your own personal dog and adjust the level to your dog’s needs.
Regardless of what many may think, the dog is not trained with punishment. Rather the remote collar is paired with commands increasing the motivation to work with the trainer. Many people pick up remote collars at the store or order them off the internet and simply strap them to the dog and just start pushing buttons. That is a pretty good way to ruin a dog. Remote collar training is an art and a skill and takes time to learn.
Remote collars also work well for counter surfing, for car chasing, for jumping up, stealing clothes and for bolting out the door. In fact the remote collar can correct a whole host of problem behaviours. After about two weeks of training your dog will be one of the best behaved dogs in your neighbourhood and you will never have to scream at your dog to get him to come back. Fido will be able to walk at your side without pulling and will come back to you 100% of the time…..guaranteed!
We believe in this method so much that we guarantee the training. If the training did not work for you…simply return the collar and we will give you your money back. So far this has never happened mind you! If you would like to see a dog working on a remote collar, give us a call and we will give you a free demonstration.
You may have bought a puppy over the winter and now that it is summer and you want to go for some long walks, you realize that no matter how far you walk, you can never tire your dog out. And on the walk your dog is pulling like crazy. The walks are getting more and more unpleasant for you. It seems that every time your fully grown puppy sees another dog, the pulling and the barking are getting worse and worse. And you dare not ever let him off the leash because he never comes when he is called.
Believe it or not all these problems can be fixed with good solid common sense dog training. And that is exactly what we do. Good Solid Common Sense dog training….no magic and no gimmicks.
This summer we are offering several classes at DueNorth. We will begin in early June with our basic dog training classes. In this class we will focus on teaching dogs to walk on a loose leash. And that includes distractions. Now when you go on walks with your dog you can start to use your walks as training opportunities. Teaching your dog to come will also be introduced. There are so many things that we do that inadvertently teach dogs not to come. We address these in our classes. We use a balanced approach of corrections and praise. Dogs can learn to have self control. It is simply common sense!
In addition to this we have weekly group competition obedience classes for those owners who have a dog that they wish to compete with. We will work with you to solve any problem that you may have. We prefer to use some food in this training class but balanced with some kind corrections to help your dog to understand the exercises and what you want him to do. Here at DueNorth we have produced 4 Utility level dogs, more than anyone else in the Peterborough area.
One of our most popular classes are our private e-collar lessons. This is the most effective way of all methods to train your dog. It gets a bad reputation from those that have never used it before but after one free lesson it is easy to see how soft and gentle this method can be. And the results are stunningly reliable.
We also do puppy consultations. We feel that puppies are best socialized with stable adult dogs. In one lesson we can give you lots of choices to socialize your puppy safely and without spending a fortune on puppy lessons. And with that lesson we will also provide grooming tips and fun obedience lessons.
If you feel like walking your dog is more of a chore than a pleasant experience, think about training your dog. It will be more enjoyable for both of you.
Biting human hands is something that many puppies will try in their first weeks in their new home.
Biting a human is totally unacceptable for any puppy or dog of any age to do. If you allow this behaviour to continue….at what age is it going to be unacceptable? How are you going to tell an 80 pound Doberman that you want him to stop that biting?
The time to stop it is right now and not a moment later! One bite from a dog can often be a death sentence for that dog.
When he bites you, scream like someone just cut your throat. Stop interacting with the dog and turn away from the dog, wait a few seconds and turn around and act like nothing happened. This is what their mothers and siblings do. When it gets rough the puppies stop playing and this teaches a pup his limitations. Dog trainers refer to this as bite inhibition! Whatever you do though, keep it non confrontational. If you try to make a big huge issue out of this, the dog will become more aggressive.
Don’t engage in rough play with the dog using your hands. If you want to play with the pup use a rope toy or something similar. In this way, you teach the dog to play but you also teach him to play with a toy and not your hands. Always make sure that the game stops when YOU want it to stop. Use a word like out or give when you want to end the game and have the dog drop the treat. Exchange a treat for the toy in the beginning while the dog learns what out or give means. Dogs understand giving up something of less value for something of greater value. Don’t engage in roughhousing with your If the game becomes too intense. Avoid it until you can control the game. For some dogs even tug of war will be too intense for them and should be avoided.)
Some puppies may respond to you holding your hand firmly over their muzzle. You can add a command like “no bite” to these exercises but the behaviour should stop after about 3 or 4 episodes if you use these techniques.
Sometimes biting can be a bit worse when pups start teething. Take some hard rubber toys that your dog really likes and put them in the freezer and give those to your puppy to soothe his sore gums.
Instead of feeding all of your dogs kibble to him in a bowl, offer him pieces throughout the day in exchange for a sit, or a down or shake a paw. Hold the food in such a way that your fingers are entirely covering the food. The dogs first reaction is going to be to grab your fingers. If he tries to do that say “AHHH” in a growly tone of voice. When the dog looks up at you offer him the treat. This teaches the dog that you are in control of the resources and the food and he has to behave himself to get what he wants.
These exercises are important for all breeds of dogs especially the cute little toy breeds.
Purebred dogs! Why would you consider a purebred dog? Is there any benefit to having a purebred dog? Just why are they so much more expensive than other dogs?
I have purebred dogs because of what I do for a living. My job is to help other people to deal with their dogs. My dogs help me work with my clients’ dogs, so I want a dog with a stable predictable temperament that I can rely on. I know that my dogs did not leave their littermates until they were 8 weeks old. In this way, they had a stable beginning, because puppies learn most of their doggie relationship skills from 6 to 8 weeks of age. Because my dogs compete in dog sports that are designed for their breed, I can offer dog training experience based on my learning experiences with my own dogs. Many dogs have other jobs as well. Some are tracking dogs, some are drug detection dogs and others are designated couch potatoes. And yes many of these jobs can be fulfilled by mixed breed dogs and rescue dogs….but often not as predictably.
Generally speaking, most people that breed purebred dogs do a limited number of breedings a year. They usually have all their puppies sold before the breeding has even occurred. Good breeders are not contributing to pet over population because they breed so rarely. Good breeders look after their breeding stock and the dogs they own live a pampered life. Their bitches get excellent care and are spayed at the end of their breeding career. Good breeders know the dogs they have and the issues that may be in the pedigrees that they have. They track issues like hip dysplasia, congenital heart disease, congenital cataracts and a host of other issues that affect dogs. They spend considerable amounts of money each and every year doing medical testing on all their breeding stock and even offspring of breeding stock. They spend all this money on their dogs in the hope that they are providing you with a healthy stable pet. None of them make any money doing this. They do it because they love the dogs that they have. Good breeders are more likely to attend courses on raising puppies to be good companion dogs like the one I was at in Ottawa in early March.
Today there are ongoing marketing campaigns that malign purebred dogs. It is now almost a bad thing to say you are a dog breeder. Animal rights groups are determined to end all companion dog ownership and they love to target the dog breeders of the world. They want you to believe that every time a pure bred dog is born, another dog dies in a shelter. But the truth is far more complicated. Most people are unaware of the huge number of dogs that we are importing every day. They are coming in from the Caribbean and from the United States. A tractor trailer load of rescue dogs arrived last week in Nova Scotia with dogs from California and more are arriving every day.
Purchasing a purebred dog allows you to pretty accurately predict size, temperament, grooming requirements, and exercise needs. Finding a good breeder who will be there to help and support you through the life of your dog is priceless
When people call me for a training appointment, one of the number one complaints that folks have about their dog is that the dog won’t come when it is called.
I wonder how much effort the average person put into teaching this to the dog? Probably most people assume that the puppy they bought was born speaking English. So I assume not a lot of effort goes into teaching the word to the pup.
The puppy gets let out loose in the backyard to do his business and we call come when we want to get back into the house. At first the puppy might come because you are interesting, probably slapping your legs….but after awhile the puppy begins to find the yard is more interesting than you are. And at about the same time, the puppy figures out that if it does not want to come back to you…well there is not a heck of a lot that you can do about it. Screaming at the dog to come is making it even worse than ever….now you are not just boring but scary as well.
So change things around. Get yourself a long line and a pocketful of treats….make them yummy treats like cheese or chicken. A long line is a cord of about 30 feet. Put the puppy outside dragging the long line. Let the puppy do its business and play around a bit.
Now step on the long line and tell your puppy to come. If he does not come, show him what you want by picking up the line. Pull him toward you and when he gets to you praise him up and give him a treat. After a week or so you should start to see a pretty good recall in your yard.
Now take him out to somewhere fenced and safe and practice with some distractions. Keep doing things like this for the first year of your puppy’s life and you are going to start to see a dog that really does understand what ‘come’ means and they will also be pretty convinced that you have magical powers because the long line always ensures a good return.
If your dog is older this will still work but it may take a bit longer to undo his previous experiences….but it can still be done. You can teach most old dogs new tricks.
So if you have a new puppy arriving soon, teach him to come right from the start and you should end up with a great recall.
I have been training dogs for decades. And I have seen lots of fads come and go. And I mean lots. Every new trainer has a new idea….a new gimmick. But the truth of the matter is that there are only two methods to train a dog. One is to be a very heavy handed trainer that uses only corrections and the other is to only use food. Either method will usually produce results. But sometimes sacrifices are made with each method. A very heavy trainer that fails to sufficiently praise the dog will produce a sullen unhappy dog that mopes around terrified of making a mistake. A dog that only receives a food treat for being obedient often becomes petulant if things don’t go their way and may refuse to do what is asked of them. Sometimes positive trained only dogs become very frantic and develop obsessions in an effort to protect their food source.
The truly great trainers will use a blend of both methods suited to the dog in front of them. They can use both food and corrections in the training session to meet the needs of their dogs.
You can often tell what a trainer is like from their own personal dogs. Watch how the dog behaves. Does the dog come when the trainer calls them? Can the trainer have their own personal dog off leash? Is the trainers dog good with other dogs?
It is not unusual for a trainer to have younger untrained dogs, but the dogs that they are using for classes should be well behaved dogs.
Look too for a trainer who can train dogs with a variety of methods that suit you. If a trainer can only train with a clicker perhaps they are denying you a method that would better suit your dog. If they can only train with a pinch collar they may be denying you a softer approach that your dog may need.
Plumber and electricians have toolboxes…..make sure that your trainer has a full toolbox to meet all of your needs. That toolbox should include a clicker, a choke collar, a pinch collar and an ecollar…..and a very big sense of fairness for the dog.
Labrador Retriever and Golden Retriever puppies are the two most common breeds that families acquire for family pets. And why not? They are both wonderful family pets. However, they do have a lot of energy and if that energy is not contained or trained, most of them will find something to do on their own. And you might not like what they come up with. Most people will start to walk them as much as possible and that is a great place to start but the more you walk them the fitter they will become. Don’t get me wrong….they certainly do need lots of good healthy exercise but they also need some training. Training takes the edge of all that energy in a more productive way and a lot of training can be done while you walk. A dog that has to work at the end of a leash and think at the same time is a tired dog. There are a lot of things that you can train a retriever to do.
They are truly versatile dogs. Their greatest talent is their mouth. They love to pick things up with their mouth and they love to carry things and sometimes that gets them into a lot of trouble.
One of the biggest problems that I hear of regarding retrievers is that they are always stealing the remote, the kid’s socks, your undies or the baby’s stuffed toys. That is what retrievers do….they carry things in their mouths. It is a huge part of who they are. But if you start to chase them in the house, you are putting them in charge of the game. So you need to change that around. Never chase your retriever. Instead let him drag around a very short leash so that you can catch him. When you do catch him, take the object from him and then give it back. Tell him what a good boy he is and take it back again. Then give him something more appropriate. If he won’t give it to you, sometimes blowing in his face will get him to give it up. Start adding words to the exercise, like fetch, come and give and now you are training your dog to bring things back to you instead of running off with them.
Tis the season of a new puppy…..perhaps one that you received as a Christmas present. Hopefully one that is at least 8 weeks old.
So now what? Where should you start?
The obvious first answer to that is house training. Failure to house train is often cited as the number one reason for giving a dog up.
And over the life time of the dog, the first week or two that you spend on training your dog to eliminate outdoors is going to save you a fortune in cleaning supplies and ruined carpets.
To start with get a crate. Dogs are den animals and most will come to truly love their crate.
Put the pup in the crate at all times when you are not actively supervising the puppy.
When the pup is out of the crate, close all doors to rooms that you can’t easily see and reduce the area that the puppy can access until house training is better established.
The secret to housebreaking is to get the dog to adjust its schedule. Put the dog out those times when it is most likely to need to eliminate such as
* upon waking up
* prior to and after confinement
* after playing
* after the arrival of someone
* before and after car rides
* after accidents
* if the dog is restless, trying to leave room, whiny, etc
* after eating and drinking
o young pups under 3 months within 15 minutes
o 3 to 6 months-within 30 minutes
o over 6 months within 40 to 60 minutes
Don’t send the dog out in the backyard to do his business. You take the pup out on a leash. Being on a leash teaches the dog that he can go while on a leash and prevents him from thinking that he has to be off of a leash to eliminate. Keeping him on a leash introduces him to the leash and it also keeps you right by your pup’s side so that you can praise him the moment that he does pee.
Keep your puppy crated at night and it is always best if the pup can learn to sleep in a crate in your bedroom. Most puppies can hold their bladder overnight by the time they are 8 weeks old….but smaller dogs usually take a bit longer to be able to hold it. If your puppy is having trouble sleeping you can try simply touching them through the crate.
This will usually relieve their anxiety.
Do you own one of those extra special dogs? I know they are all special! But I mean one of those dogs who seems to do everything perfectly. Or one of those dogs that can find the ball when you have no idea where it is. Or perhaps you have a dog whose favourite thing to do is to taking a running leap off of your dock.
All of these things are dog sports. Dock diving is a huge new sport open to any dog that loves to run off of a dock and jump in the water. Usually they jump in after their favourite toy but whatever it takes will work. It is a refreshing summer activity for your dog.
And for the dog that can always find that ball…why not try Nosey Dogs? This is a sport that encourages the dog to use its natural talents in a very fun and constructive game loosely based on area searches. The dog eventually learns to find a particular scent. You would be amazed at what they can find and how little it takes. We do this sport at DueNorth and it is a very popular class.
If you are the kind of owner that loves to train your dog and it walks perfectly on a leash….you are half way there….to a Companion Dog title. A Companion Dog title is a title that you can earn through the Canadian Kennel Club….and it is the Novice class.
This level is considered the basic level that any companion dog should be able to do to be a companion dog….hence the name. We do this here at DueNorth….in fact we do a lot of it and it is our favourite thing to do.
If you have a retriever who drives you insane all the time because he just has to have something in his mouth to carry around….you might take a look at retriever training.
This is a huge big game to the dogs….they love it. Bring your ear plugs though because once they find out how much fun it is they’ll be screaming for more of it.
If you want a less formal type of obedience competition….there is the new sport of Rally Obedience which encourages an ongoing dialogue with your dog while still focusing on obedience.
If your ears can handle the noise, your dog is fast and loves balls there is always fly ball. If your not too sure about it….why not go and watch. I hear there is a big tournament on in Norwood soon.
Herding dogs have their sports as well You can start out with herding ducks and then move on to the bigger livestock like sheep. And cattle dogs of course herd cattle.
There are folks in Lakefield that do carting with Newfoundlands and other giant breeds. A lot of these dogs were the poor man’s horse and actually worked for their keep.
Indeed almost all dogs were bred to do a job and no matter what it is I can assure you that someone out there is still doing it. There are sled dogs, lure coursing dogs, scent hurdling dogs and tracking dogs….the list is long and varied. And nothing bonds you to a dog more than working with it. So get up, get the leash and do something fun with your pooch….there are lots of people around to help you get started. And fall is such a great time for dog sports. Enjoy it!