Live, Laugh, Love & Learn – “L” in our A to Z Training Series

Written by Maria Stouffer- Training Director at Playful Pups Retreat and owner of Full Potential Dog Training

puppy in trainingWhen we get a dog and welcome them into our lives, most of us are not quite ready for what is in store.  You just picked up your new family member from the breeder, the rescue, or from the back yard where they showed up as a stray (yes, I have a client this happened to) and our excitement for the future is so much fun to anticipate.  We think about the love and companionship, puppy breath, snuggles on the couch, etc.  We tend to forget about the learning part of the human to dog relationship, and how much it plays into the dynamics of the home. As training director at Playful Pups Retreat, I talk to many pet parents who want the best for the new dog, but don’t always know where to start when it comes to dog training.

Our dogs are constantly going through different phases.  Puppies go through fear periods, puppy nipping, trying to figure out the rules of their new home…then they enter adolescence (don’t even get me started on this phase) and even things as simple as “who is in charge here” become new challenges.  Shelter dogs or strays have different adaptations and challenges such as “who the heck are you” or “where am I now.”  Of course, much of this can be hard to handle because we forget the hard part of raising dogs and often compare our current pup to a “perfect” past pup. For many of us, we haven’t had a puppy for many years and tend to forget how hard it can be.

So how do we effectively manage these trying times and build a special relationship with our pup?  We can live with the dog, laugh at their silly antics, love them endlessly despite their quirks…but how do we learn with our dogs?  It’s not just their responsibility to learn the behavior we want from them, but we, as caring dog owners, have a responsibility to learn what is best for our dogs.  The “A – Z” learning experience for one dog may be completely different from that of another dog.

Training with your dog helps both of you. The dog learns rules and boundaries that make your life easier and you learn what your dog likes and does not like.  Training is a life line to your dog.  You build a relationship through training and create a mutual respect while having fun doing it.  Whether you choose to take your dog to a group training class, agility class, nose work class, work with a private trainer or enroll your dog into a day school program, such as the A to Z Day Training program at Playful Pups Retreat, training will bring you and your dog closer.  Work with your dog every day for short time periods and make it fun and loving.

At Playful Pups Retreat we strive to focus not on the dog’s behavior outcome and more on human decision making and real-life impact. No matter how much fun students are having, how much they like us as instructors, no matter how brilliantly the dog behaves in class, if you, the pet parent, do not see useful, positive changes in your own lives, we have more work to do.

As pet care professionals, we want you to live, laugh, love, and learn side by side with your dog.  Call us and let us help find the perfect dog training option for you and your dog. Learn more about our dog training options.