Time Flies When You're Having Fun!
Updated: Feb 8, 2020
You want to see time really fly? Get a puppy! Puppies are so stinking cute and that is probably the only attribute that they have if we are being honest, right? It is undeniable that they have a lot of negatives as well that we cannot wait to get through such as chewing, housebreaking, whining, etc...but the fact still remains that dogs do age quickly and missing the opportunity to get them in a training class is very likely if we are not careful.
Everyone has good intentions when they first get a puppy and fully intend on getting them into obedience classes just as soon as they are allowed. *Tick * Tick * Tick Before you know it the "cuteness" has made way for a now clumsy awkward and often destructive adolescent aged dog that still has not made it into classes. *Tick * Tick * Tick .... life happens, you have a million things to do and now your puppy is fully grown and has the house manners of a... well? Of an untrained, teenage equivalent dog!
Don't be too hard on yourself because dogs actually do age quicker that humans especially during that first year. According to Purina's article Your Dogs Age In Human Years. A dogs first year alone is equal to 15 human years and sometimes more or less depending upon the breed and size. You can use Purina's online calculator see what the approximate age your dog is in human years.
Bottom line is that there is nothing you can do to get back those days and weeks when your puppy was so much more impressionable. However, getting your dog into classes now is even more imperative. Lack of training may not be listed as one of the top reasons why some dogs are relinquished to shelters but a significant amount of them do lack training. According to a recent study conducted by the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy (NCPPSP) most dogs (96%) had not received any obedience training. 96% is an astronomical percentage that can easily be avoided!
What can we do?
Educate Pet Owners
Educate all pet owners on the importance of training through our veterinarians, shelters, pet stores and breeders. This should be made standard practice for everyone in the pet industry. Training should be just as important as vaccinating their pets. Think about this.... Vaccinating is important because your dog could get sick without vaccines and die. Not training your dog could land them in a shelter as well.... remember 96% of the dogs relinquished are untrained. We all know that not every shelter is kill free.
Offer More Options
Options that address the issues that pet owners could possibly face are cost, scheduling conflicts, and location. Not everyone can afford to bring in a trainer for private in home lessons. There needs to be more cost effective options available. One idea that I have had is to give people the option to host group lessons in their own homes. They sign up a few friends for the training and in return for hosting, their fee is waived or greatly reduced. This motivates the owner to sign up friends and offers me a place to have the group lessons. (Of course there will be waivers for everyone to sign so that the homeowner is not liable). Community based training through the local rec centers are usually at a reasonable rate and are becoming more prevalent. Online classes that utilizes today's technology is my next endeavor as well. Although it will take a lot of preparation on my part, in the end it will offer those with a busy schedule, those that work during typical business hours or those that just want the convenience of a distance learning class, another option for training their dog.
If we are all diligent in this effort and pet owners realize that training is more than a frivolous expense, we will then see some changes. We can make sure that no dog is left behind in their need for obedience and training.