"I have a smart dog...but I'm a stupid owner," said one of our clients today. I guess she was upset at the fact she couldn't get her dog to sit and focus in front of her. "Whoa whoa whoa....hold on...you are not a stupid owner. Any owner who brings their dog to a puppy class and is willing to take time to train their dog is a smart owner," I replied. Then I said, "I never want to hear that again!," and I corrected her on her technique. After that, she got her miniature schnauzer to sit right in front of her and focusing right at her. Yes!
I tell a lot of our clients, "It's not only about training your dog, it's about training yourself too." When I got into teaching dog obedience, I was naive. I thought it was about training our four legged friends. In fact, it was about training our two legged friends. There are no stupid owners when they take their dog to our classes. I can think of a couple of reasons why taking your dog to a class is a smart choice.
1. It promotes the human to canine bond.
2. Puppies get the chance to socialize and learn how to play with other puppies. (i.e bite inhibition especially for bigger dogs)
3. An obvious one, you will have a better behaved dog.
4. Reinforces your puppy recalls in a distracted environment for the safety of your dog.
5. You will be educated about your dog and provide a foundation for advanced manners.
There are a lot more but those come to mind. We never provided our puppy with the chance to learn or see the outside world often enough. When the terrible twos hit, I decided I needed to learn about our dog and it's bad behaviours. When reflecting back, it has been the driving force in my work with dogs. Truth be told, I was the "real" stupid owner back then, not my client today.