Did you know that February is Responsible Pet Owner's month? With that in mind, my co-hosts and I have decided to base our posts on different ways training makes you a responsible owner.
We all have different levels that we train our dogs to, and different ideas of how well trained our dogs need to be in order to live well with us and our own unique situations. Some people may not do much with their dog, and only want their dog to be housebroken, not chew furniture and not be a pain in the ass. :) Others, like myself, enjoy taking our dogs places and as such need our dogs to not pull on lead, be polite in public, have basic manners, and generally be well behaved and adaptable pups. Still others, myself included, enjoy photographing our dogs and thusly have a plethora of tricks up our sleeves like stays, down, sit, paws up, watch me, and our dogs need to be comfortable on lots of different surfaces and heights for our photo shoots to run smoothly and to get the best possible results. With that in mind, I'm going to tell about what I do to make sure I am a responsible dog owner, and how I try and hold Nola and myself to that standard.
|Nola's "stay". I was about 25-30ft away in this pic.|
First, Nola and I took and passed the AKC's Canine Good Citizen test when Nola had just turned two years old and. It was a goal of mine since I got her, and I'm so happy she passed. We're also working towards our Rally Novice (RN) title, and I hope to go all the way to RAE with her if she enjoys it. I'd like to get her AKC Community Canine award (basically an advanced CGC) if somewhere around here offers it.
Putting the CGC or another title on your dog is not only a great success and satisfaction, it can be helpful when you're searching for a rental place. Some places (usually not strict condos/apartments though, but more independently owned properties) that may not be accepting of pets are more likely to allow you to have your pet there if they have their CGC or an obedience/Rally title. The same holds true with rental and vacation homes.
|"Down/stay" potion of the CGC test.|
Second, Nola is very well trained. She has a huge arsenal of tricks and cues, and responses to them quickly and correctly. This mean that when we're out Nola doesn't pull, stops when I stop, doesn't go up to people and bother them, is mostly quiet (more on that towards the end), is calm and polite in stores and responds well to me when I ask her to do something.
|Beautiful, smart, well behaved, adorable, funny, gawjuss. I'm the complete package!|
Third, Nola isn't aggressive, reactive, skittish, nervous, ect. She is polite, adaptable, well behaved and enjoys being out and about.
Note: Polite and well behaved does not mean friendly. Nola does not enjoy being manhandled by people, and I frankly can't stand when people besides family touch her, and even that grates on my nerves on occasion. ;)
She will tolerate petting if I'm okay with it and is perfectly fine when she's examined by her vet, but doesn't actively seek it out and is happier when she doesn't have to interact with someone. If someone speaks to her they'll get a tail wag if they're lucky, but reach out and touch her and you'll get the haughtiest look you've ever received. "How dare you try and touch the queen, you lowly slave?" You can almost hear her say. "Don't you dare soil my luscious self with your filthy hands." It's pretty funny, in all honest. She is the very essence of aloof. We are incredibly similar in that regard.
It actually comes in handy when we have guests or we visit other people; Nola will be by my side and isn't a pest that goes from person to person, demanding pets and whining if they're not given them.
So, she's polite and well behaved, but she just doesn't enjoy being touched. No big deal for me, and in all honesty I prefer her personality to the people slut her sister/minion, Boston, is.
|This really only applies to Momma, Sweetie and Sugar, BOL!|
Fourth, Nola isn't destructive. Even as a puppy she was never a huge chewer, and as an adult she doesn't chew anything but chewies and her toys. I can leave stuff laying around and know she won't touch it. She's the ideal dog in that regard. It's hugely useful when we stay in hotels; don't have to worry that she'll cause any damage!
And fifthly and lastly, Nola has great bite inhibition. A great demonstration of this was something that happened the other day.
Nola and I were playing a game of tug and fetch ("fetch" is a relative term for her; it's more of her running after the toy, picking it up and running half way to me before zooming off for me to chase her) with a very short stick that was maybe 6-8" long. When I tug with Nola, I get her very amped up with lots of excited "you want it? you want it? you sure? you ready? get it get it get it!" and encouraging her to tug as hard as she wants and bark as hard as she wants. I ONLY suggest playing this game with a dog that has a solid "drop it". I amp her up so she's faster in her chase, speedier with her drop its and is more willing to work for the tug in the place of a treat.
Anyway, while we were playing the stick broke and Nola's mouth slide down it, connecting with my thumb and catching her canine on my skin (faint knick, nothing serious). The second she felt her teeth on my skin, she let off with no prompt or sound from me, and sat in front of me. She slipped, and it was my fault anyway for using such a short and spindly stick, but she instantly let go and moved away.
This isn't to say Nola's an angel in public 100% of the time, because in my opinion no dog is. Sometimes she sees a person that she gets a bad vibe from, and will put herself between me and that person. Sometimes something falls or a car backfires and she barks. Heck, sometimes a bike or something will go right past us and Nola's prey drive kicks in and she'll want to chase it while screaming like a banshee. But 98% of the time she is perfect in public, and taking the time and effort to teach her to behave has paid off hugely!