Special Report: Train your pup - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Special Report: Train your pup

Not everyone's dog can do tricks, but they can all be taught the basics of good behavior.

Carolyn Weinbaum, who runs a behavior training service in Columbus called The Developing Canine, has a piece of advice for all dog owners. "The first thing that you want to do really is manage your dog, while training your dog."

She says even before training begins, you should determine exactly what you're looking for in a pet. 

"The best reason to get a dog is because you really want a dog, and you want a dog that's going to spend its life with you and do things with you, go hiking with you, go kayaking with you."

Marti Long echoes that sentiment. She trains animals too in her role as a puppy socializer at Petland. Long says the key word is commitment.

"You can't just take them home and not do a lot of things with them. Once they become a part of your family it's priceless."

That's why it's important to establish some rules immediately.

"The first session will teach you how to get your dog to walk nicely on a leash, says Weinbaum, who's been training animals for 27 years. Using proper tools, we teach you how your dog should walk with you, and how to train that dog to walk nicely with you. Because they don't know that you want them to walk by your side unless you tell them."  

She adds that the leash can be just as important at home. 

"If you don't want them jumping on people when they come through the door, you've got them on a leash, and you can teach them to sit rather than jump. You're able to guide them into proper behavior and avoid behavior that gets dogs into trouble."

It was unruly behavior by her dog Kobe that sent Mackenzie Searle over the edge.

"He had jumped on everything, glass table about three feet high, walked over it, on me, over me, anywhere he could go that was wrong he would go."

Mackenzie and her husband Stuart finally listened to what their veterinarian had been telling them.

"We'd kind of looked at Developing Canine but our vet highly recommended them as well. So I went home and I wrote an email right after that. Of course, I laugh because as I was writing the email he was jumping over my I-Pad as I'm trying to write it. I don't even know if it's spelled right at this point, but it's got to be sent."   

It was and Carolyn agreed to work with Kobe. She asked the Searles if they'd like to try an electronic collar for their dog and they agreed..

"This is a Dogtra collar, says Weinbaum.  You want to make sure that when you work with an electronic collar, you work with a high-quality electronic collar." 

But be advised, they don't come cheap. The best collars retail for more than 200 bucks, but Weinbaum says they're worth every penny.

"If you look at the training that you do with your dog as an investment in your dog and in your life, the $230 that you're going to put into this is $230 you don't have to give me to work with you for even longer. It's $230 that you might have to put into repairing your sofa, your shoes, your carpeting, or taking your dog to the vet because it got hit by a car."

Electronic collar aside, Weinbaum says nothing will replace good old patience.

"The biggest mistake people can make when training their dog is thinking that their dog is already trained. Then expecting too much out of them and not giving them a chance to really learn."

Puppy specialist Long hasn't always dealt with dogs. She was a social worker for 40 years, and points out the difference between people and pets. 

"Dogs don't talk back. They give you unconditional love. You don't have to worry about them being sneaky or lying to you. They're just going to be themselves."

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