Loving Family Pets      Dogs      Obedience and Agility
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Dog Obedience Training

As a long time dog owner there are a few important lessons I've learned. The most important being that obedience training is a must. Having a well trained dog not only helps keep me happy, it keeps my dog happy and safe. A dog that is well trained understands her place in "the pack". Going through a training program with your dog helps establish you as the pack leader which eliminates potential power struggles.   The amount of training depends on your dog. My dog, Ashley, is an Australian Shepherd and had a tendency to be quite fearful of new people. She also had a nasty habit of "heading for the hills" whenever I let her out. As a result, we spent her first three years in obedience training.  We went until she received her Canine Good Citizen certificate.
I believe that the best training is done by professionals who focus on positive training techniques. It should be relatively easy to find a trainer. I enrolled my dog in training  courses offered at the local Humane Society. Some Veterinarian clinics also offer obedience training. You can also enroll in classes through pet stores such as PetSmart. Obedience training does cost money. However, if your dog understands and obeys the "stay" or "leave it" commands she will be less likely to need veterinary care which can be even more costly. 
I have also learned that it's important to practice what we learned in obedience training daily. Each day you should spend at least 5-10 minutes reviewing basic commands with your dog. This will keep the important lessons learned in class fresh in your dog's mind.

Dog Agility Training

Along with obedience training I also enrolled my dog in agility training. Just a few 8 week courses made a world of difference in her obedience. During agility she learned that she had to watch me to know where I wanted her to go. I was surprised at how easily and quickly she took to the agility course. She really seemed to enjoy it.  There were other important benefits of agility training. Running the course built her confidence, gave her an activity that expended energy, and strengthened our bond as dog and owner. Here are some pictures of Ashley in agility.
During agility training I used a short leash to help guide Ashley through the course. This was much easier than having her drag a leash along since the leash got in the way and interfered with the obstacles. Now I keep a short leash on her anytime she is off leash in the yard. It has proven valuable in those circumstance during which I needed to  get a quick hold of her to restrain her. Even with her obedience training there are times when instinct takes over.  This happens when a deer decides to wander through in the nearby field. Training and age have resolve the shyness issues but now we have the opposite problem, she get really happy and excited when people she knows and likes stop by and we are still working on polite greetings. The short leash if very handy in those situations as well. 

The Short Leash

The short leash I used in agility training was a simple knotted rope (seen in the picture above on the right). The last few years I've made my own out of braided leather lace. I also found that the leather was much easier to handle than nylon rope and looked a little nicer. Because I've found the short leash so handy I've decided to make them available for a reasonable price. Here is Ashley with one of her new braided short leashes. Short leashes come in either 6 inch or 8 inch lengths and a variety of colors, red, black, brown, blue, and pink. They are made of 100% hand-braided suede leather laces with a 3/8" nickel spring latch clasp. Ashley (pictured right) stands 21" at the withers and is wearing an 8 inch leash.  Leashes sell for $4.00-$5.00. Standard shipping is free. 

Ashley's Short Leash

Click Here for more information or to order one of Ashley's Short Leashes.



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