Training our dog- training our family
Suddenly, it happened. Our little fluff ball of a puppy topped 80 lbs and was pure enthusiasm and muscle. What he lacked completely were manners. Trust me, when an 80 lb super happy shepherd launches himself across the room for a full body hug, you better strap yourself down and brace for impact. And when its one of six year old daughter’s friends, you better to shoot the missile down out of the air.
Clearly it was time for an intervention, and that came in the form of Ann Becnel with Ann Becnel Companion Dogs.
Ann is a family-oriented dog trainer, and that’s what was most important to us. We have a small child, a BIG dog, and the potential for trouble -if we didn’t get a handle on it -was enormous. Rougarou is our newest family member and we all need to be on the same page. Ann specializes in family dogs- and an emphasis on manners, obedience, and overcoming potential problems in and out of the home is the backbone of forever family happiness. If you’d like, she offers private in-home dog training, but what we wanted were the group classes.
small and cute, but with a flair for the scare.
Where to begin:
She comes first to your home to meet your family and your dog, and observe any problems you might be having your natural environment, if any.
When our doorbell rang the morning of our appointment, I could feel my anxiety rise. This is how it was every time somebody came to the door. I knew I’d be caught wrestling the dog down with all my strength and embarrassment.
Her help started before she was more than five feet inside the house. It was simple really, keep his leash on him and step on it to keep him from lunging upwards. Don’t pet him unless he’s sitting. It worked. He learned quickly to get what he wanted- attention- he needed to sit. All I can say is I was in love immediately.
Ann teaches Rou to not jump- before she’s made it past the front hall!
She then spent a full hour or more actually with us going over her dog training class; teaching those things to know before we got there explaining, different equipment we can use with the dog, and her philosophy. It was really wonderful because she was training us to train him.
The next step was to attend dog class- which is held at City Park. The class starts with an acclimation period, and then the dogs get to run and play for 10 minutes with each other. Again, so different than classes I knew of before- but so logical. Let them play and ‘burn it off’ so they can better pay attention to the ‘lesson’. At the same time, they learn how to socialize properly with other dogs- which is so important.
Over the next few weeks we attended classes- sometimes missing one or two (Jazzfest was a major factor) but that’s ok- you have a certain number of classes (10 in our case) and you have 6 full months in which to do it. Another benefit of her class.
The difference in Rougarou was incredible- he listened. But the biggest difference really was with us– we learned how to train him. Sad to say, a lot of what I’d be doing was simply wrong- and when I complained “why won’t just just learn, for pete’s sake he’s a German Shepherd!” I didn’t realize the mixed signals I’d been sending him, or the behavior I expected from a too young dog. Because even though he’s 85 lbs of pure joy and love, he’s still a puppy.
But a good one.
Rou being very good in class. Thanks to our trainer!