Training

Training a miniature schnauzer is truly a joy!  These dogs (like most) love to please their owners and ours is particularly food-motivated.  Dogs in general, often fall into either a food-motivated or a toy-motivated category.  Food is pretty easy to work with, but you will find that not all treats are the same.  Dogs love variety, including different smells and textures.

We had originally trained our Caesar at PetSmart with a fantastic trainer in Oakville (Mervyn — for anyone looking for a great trainer in Oakville).  We took Caesar through both Introduction and Intermediate courses and we all enjoyed the process.  Remember that “dog training” is really about training owners.  It’s us that have to understand our dog’s thinking, motivation and choices of behaviours.  And different dogs may need slightly different strategies for training.  Even two dogs from the same breed can present with different challenges based on their own temperaments and personalities.

I believe you can’t use the same style of training for each dog.  You have to understand your dog.  Caesar likes to have the last word.  If I train him to learn a new trick, I now expect some back-talk from him until he becomes comfortable with the new skill/trick.  But he does still do the trick.  He is motivated by the time we spend together in the task, the gentle communication I share with him and of course, the anticipated treat to come!

I think Caesar is very smart.  And even still, it takes a lot of time to train him to do things.  Not having accidents in the home was easy training for Caesar through crate-training and watching him VERY carefully for his first few months with us to associate going “potty” with going outside.  His introductory and intermediate training was also “easy” with time and practice.  And that’s the main point I’d like to make about training in this first post on this page.  Training takes time.  And patience.  And love.  We want our dogs to learn things, and they want to please us, so it’s really an ideal situation.  But getting frustrated during training only gives our dogs the impression that they are doing something wrong, they are displeasing us and that training time is not fun.  And training is fun.  For both the trainer and learner — if you want it to be.  It’s not “fun” taking more time to train something that you thought would be simple but appears to be tough for the dog; however, it’s always fun (or should be) to see your dog trying to understand what you’re trying to teach and knowing that they want to learn it.  And they want to learn not because they’re avoiding punishment — they want to do it just to see us happy.  How wonderful is that?!

I will write more about styles of training in my next post on this page.

Remember:  “A well-trained dog will make no attempt to share your lunch. He will just make you feel so guilty that you cannot enjoy it.”  — Helen Thomson

Happy Training!

Dr. Menen

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