Walter, a handsome Australian Shepherd.
Let me start by answering the question above. Yes, the name game in training a dog is extremely important. This is always the first command I work on before moving on to any other command. Why is it important? For the simple reason that if you don’t have your dog’s attention, whatever command you are giving him will fall on deaf ears and you will end up angry, frustrated and aggravated while your dog will be completely clueless about what is going on. The above picture of handsome Walter is the perfect example of a dog not paying any attention at all. He did not want any thing to do with the camera.
A lot of pet parents would give a command when their dog is exploring his environment. Is this a good time to do it? No. He will just learn to ignore whatever command you are giving him because you don’t have his attention.
Do you give a command now? Yes. I called his name, Walter, and he gave me that beautiful eye contact. At this point, you could give him a command, but not before you get his attention. At the beginning, work only on the name game, and reward your dog with a treat, petting him, etc. Don’t move on to any other command until your dog looks at you every single time you call his name. I’d suggest you start doing this indoors and later on move on to doing it outdoors. Make training fun for you and your dog. Enjoy your weekend.
Alex, “What? My guests are arriving and I have to greet them?”
Alex’s birthday was May 5th, but because we were busy we delayed celebrating it, and that is totally my fault. Sorry Alex. I know, I am bad. The celebration started with Alex not wanting to move from her bed to greet her one and only guest, Archie. Between you and me, I think she wanted the cake all to herself.
Archie, “Am I getting a piece of cake too?”
Archie was Alex’s guest and because he is a puppy taking this picture took a little bit of planning. What a cutie pie!
Cynthia lit up the candles and both, Alex and Archie, waited patiently until Cynthia took this picture. Yes, they actually cooperated this time.
Alex, “Mom, please hurry up. I am literally aging here.”
It was nice to see Alex so interested in her cake. So interested that it looked as if she was trying to help serve to her own cake. I still can’t believe she is 13 years old. We got Alex when she was a little over 2 months old and she was such a hyper little puppy that to be honest I was somewhat scared of her level of activity. But you know what? It only took her 10 years to mellow out.
Alex finally got a chance to taste her cake. No, she did not eat all of it. She had to share it and that was fine with her. Happy belated 13th birthday to our amazing furry kid.
Training is having your dog follow commands like: sit, down, stay, come, etc. Behavior modification is living with your dog in harmony and being able to: walk without having your dog pull you; sit down to eat while your dog is in a down/stay position; open your car door and having your dog wait until you release him; have visitors come to your house and your dog being respectful of their space.
Many pet parents mistakenly believe that basic training will fix all the problems their dogs are going through, but that is not the case. I’ve gone to a few places where the pet parent tells me, “Fido and I took a class in basic training.” That makes me glad because that means that this pet parent wanted to learn and sought guidance, but basic training did not teach his dog to politely greet visitors at the door, wait by the door until released, not jump on visitors, etc.
If you want a balanced dog, you need to pair up basic training with behavior. One without the other will not give you the best results. When I work with a dog, basic training and behavior go hand in hand. If a pet parent tells me that he only wants basic training, I politely suggest to him to find another trainer. This is why an initial consultation is important because both pet parent and trainer need to understand what is expected of each other, what the training package entails, duration, hours, etc.
My suggestion would be to talk to different trainers and ask a lot of questions. Find the right person to work with you and your dog and be committed to work hard and you will see amazing results.