• Patrick Cox

Dog Training for Real Life: What does that mean for you?

Updated: May 26, 2019

We love our dogs and these days it seems everywhere you look there is a new product or service designed to meet their needs. According to the 2017-2018 National Pet Owners Survey, 60% of Americans own a dog; 35% of are millennials and 32% are baby boomers. Young or old, we get a dog for many reasons, such as:

  • a family pet,

  • a guardian,

  • a service or support animal,

  • to help on the farm,

  • and the list goes on and on.

Ideally, the training your dog receives should match their purpose in your home. (Example: Your family dog has different training needs than that of your neighbors, or a farm dog or your outdoorsy boss' camping/hunting dog.) Basic commands such as sit and stay are important and form the foundation that we build on; however, as your dog matures they also need to learn real life social skills and display good manners while going about your daily life. These are different for everyone, so at Topline K9 Solutions, we work with you to better understand the real life needs you have for your dog, then we teach you the skills to ensure you're communicating effectively.


Our training programs are uniquely designed to fit your goals and bring out the best in your dog. This is "Dog Training for Real Life." Below are a few examples to demonstrate the different types of real life training needs we've worked with in the past.


Supermom's Super Dilemma


Taking your dog to the park is a fun and healthy way to spend time with each other. Add in a couple of kids and you've got a fun-filled family afternoon. But when your dog jumps out of the car without your permission, won't listen, and snaps at other dogs, your fun-filled family day can be a bummer.


We hear different versions of this scenario quite often. More and more families are including their dogs in family activities, so it's important to take the time to socialize and train your dog(s) to listen. Using the "Wait" command will ensure they stay in the car while you get everyone out and gather anything you need for your day at the park.


Hipster and His Hound


We are lucky to live in such a dog-friendly community filled with breweries, cafes, and restaurants allowing dogs to join in on the fun. Many are specifically geared toward dogs such as Barley Labs in Durham, Pine State Coffee in Raleigh, and Ransom in Boone.


When you take your dog to a place with lots of people, other dogs, loud noises, and yummy smells, it's important that they are well mannered and listen. At Topline K9 Solutions, we spend a lot of time working with your dog in the community. It's very common for people to want to pet your dog when out and about, so they should sit politely and be on their best behavior.


The Professional Pooch


These days more and more business owners are allowing their employees to bring their dogs to work. In fact, many dogs are so deeply emerged into the business that they are part of the brand. These dogs are lucky to have an opportunity to spend so much time with their person and truly love what they do; however, if they aren't trained properly, they can have a negative effect on the business.


Whether your dog is simply a mascot, a key member of the team or even a teacher, they may need additional training to ensure they're representing the brand in the best way possible. These dogs often play a key role in the community, so when we work with them we make sure your training plan includes plenty of socialization and community involvement.


Mom's New Friend


For most of us, our dog is part of the family and often that bond is so strong it's very hard to move on after a loss. When that dog is also a service or emotional support dog, the grieving process can be even harder. You've not only lost a dear friend, you've also lost a key aspect of your support system. When this happens, it's always a good idea to reach out for help and talk to people who have been through such a loss.


Now, no dog will ever replace another; however, if the opportunity is right (or when you're ready) taking in a new dog will help fill that void. In such situations, it's a good idea to start training your dog early. Not just to ensure they're well behaved, but for the safety of both dog and owner. An untrained dog may unintentionally hurt an older person by pulling too hard on the leash or break away, and get hurt themselves.


Side note: There are many things to take into consideration in situations like these, such as:

  • the age, mobility, and emotional readiness of the owner,

  • the size and breed of the dog,

  • the dog's history,

  • and the dogs temperament.

A Dog in Need


Finally, rescuing a dog is a great way to serve the canine community. You're literally saving a well-deserved life. It's important to note that if you do choose to rescue a dog, that you do so from a reputable organization such as Saving Grace, Second Chance, or All Breed Animal Rescue of the Carolinas . The dog should have all their shots and be neutered/spayed.


The example above discusses a dog with some serious emotional and behavioral issues. Most rescues are healthy physically and emotionally; however, should you get a shy pup for instance, we are here for you! You could not get more "real life" then this! And the rewards are outstanding as you see your dog gain confidence.


When we work with dogs that have aggression, socialization, or serious dog behavioral issues, we assess the situation and might recommend the dog spend some time with us in our "Stay and Train" K9 Training School. That way, we can focus 100% of our attention on the dog and give them the guidance and leadership they need.


Note: The examples discussed in this article are all based on a combination of real-life situations we have worked with in the past. The names, faces, and stories have been changed to ensure the privacy of our clients. The images are of dogs we have trained; however, they are not the dogs discussed in each situation.


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