Dog Behavior Tips from the Denver Dumb Friends League

At Canine To Five, we get asked a LOT of behavior questions.  And sometimes we need some help with the answers, which is when we turn to the Denver Dumb Friends League. Founded in 1910, the Dumb Friends League is a national leader in providing humane care to lost and abandoned animals, rescuing sick, injured and abused animals, adopting pets to new homes, helping pets stay in homes, and educating pet owners and the public about the needs of companion animals.

Today we were chatting with a customer about why an Obedience Class at Canine To Five might be a good idea, and we handed him this handout from the DDFL.   It includes some tips on selecting a class:
• Quality obedience instructors are knowledgeable about many different types of training methods and use techniques that neither the dogs nor their owners find consistently unpleasant.
• Good training methods focus primarily on reinforcing good behavior and use correction sparingly, appropriately and humanely. Excessive use of choke chains or pinch collars or using collars to lift dogs off of the ground (“stringing them up”) are not appropriate or humane training methods.
• Quality obedience instructors communicate well with people and with dogs. Remember that they are instructing you about how to train your dog.
• Specific problems you may have with your dog may not be addressed in a basic obedience course. If you’re seeking help with housesoiling, barking, aggression or separation anxiety, ask if
the course covers these issues – do not assume it will.
• Ask the instructor what training methods are used and how they (the instructor and staff) were trained. Also, ask to observe a class before you commit to one. If you’re refused an observation, or if your observation results in anything that makes you uncomfortable, look elsewhere.
• Avoid anyone who guarantees his or her work; whose primary methods focus on punishment; or who wants to take your dog and train him for you (effective training must include you and the environment in which you and your dog interact).

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