As I mentioned in our Wordless Wednesday post yesterday, Luna and I started beginner obedience training yesterday.


Hopefully we will go from this…


…to this!

I thought Luna knew her basics well. That is until we were outside in a field of dogs and right next to a dog agility training class. To my embarrassment Luna emptied herself right in the middle of the training area at the beginning of class, making me scramble to clean it up. Luna may just be the problem dog in class, but Beagles are supposed to be hard to train, right?

Yesterday’s class covered basics about training and generally how to care for a dog. Overall I am impressed with our trainer. She reinforced that dogs need meat, not grains and that it is important to know what your dogs are eating. She gave tips for preventing jumping, niping, and sock eating all in the first class!

We spent most of the first class filling out paperwork and talking, so there was not much interaction or hands on training. This of course meant Luna got bored. I think Luna’s attention span is her biggest training problem. When I can get Luna’s attention (which is sometimes challenging without a treat), she knows her sit, lie down, stay, and even high five commands.

Unfortunately, with all the smells, running and jumping dogs, and tempting grass to dig in Luna’s attention was anywhere but on me. She wanted to play with every dog, howled at everything, and decided to dig a hole. The best advice I took from the night was to train hungry and train tired. Next time, Luna and I will go for a longer jog or walk before training just to wear her out a little.

Here is a quick summary of what I learned.

It is as much for me as it is for you, so I do not forget.

  • Train tired and hungry.
  • Harnesses are not the best training tools – collar and leash is similar to the way a mother dog trains her pups at the neck.
  • Use hand signals with commands – dogs use body language.
  • Dogs do remember – use sense of smell or sight to remind them of something they did bad, but do not scold after calling a dog to you. A dog will associate the negative reinforcement with coming and not the bad act.
  • Do not repeat commands – that gives the dog control. You are the pack leader.
  • Keep shoulders up when giving commands – bending over can sending mixed signals to a dog and may look like you want to play when you are scolding.
  • Fearful dogs can be more dangerous than aggressive dogs because you do not know when they will snap.
  • Sprays like Bitter Apple or Tobasco sauce can help with nipping and eating socks.
  • Raising your knee to protect yourself along with a verbal command can help reduce jumping.

There are lots of training methods out there. What do you think about these tips? Any other training tips you can share?

Our trainer also talked a lot about getting your dog tattooed. She said in many states it is illegal to take a dog that is identified by tattoo or microchip, but microchips often move in the body and the scanners are not universal. She also said less than 40% of dogs who are lost and unidentified return home. Dog tattoos are on the inside of the thigh. Luna is microchipped, but not tattooed. Although the dog I had growing up, Jake, was tattooed. How do you feel about dog tattoos?

Our homework for this week is working on Luna’s sits and lie downs! We will let you know how it goes.

Jessica Shipman
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