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Sonoran Aire
Thoughts on Training Airedales

And Other Dogs

This page is under construction! And since training is a "work in progress", this page will always be "under construction"!

Starting Puppies

While there is alot to be said for getting an adult or young adult dog, to truly be in control of the critical developmental stages in a dog's life, I like to raise the puppy myself.

Raising a puppy is EXACTLY like raising an infant in terms of time and commitment. To properly raise a competition puppy requires getting up in the middle of the night to take it outside. Being available to spend time with it when it needs the time, not when it is convenient for the handler to spend time with the puppy.

I am a big believer in "crate training" puppies. The crate acts as a substitute den and a bed for the pup. It is much the same as a crib or playpen for an infant. I teach my puppies to let me know when they need out. The first thing we do is go outside, then we play a little. Puppies have very short attention spans, so sessions should be kept short.

It is extremely critical that one realizes that puppies are always learning, so one must exercise caution to ensure that what the puppy is learning is, in fact, what you want the puppy to learn!

For competition and pet training, I believe in laying a solid foundation for future advanced training. Puppies minds are like little sponges, absorbing everything they see and experience. I try to increase the range of experiences significantly in the first several weeks of puppyhood (from about 7-16 wks). This helps the "wiring" of the brain. An example of this is teaching a puppy to go up and down stairs, to walk on uneven surfaces, to smell new smells, and to go different places and experience different things.

About Obedience

Having an obedient dog is a must in today's society. Every dog should have at least the basics - heel (walking on a loose leash, on the left side if training for competition), sit, stay, down, and come.

I do not use clicker training, though I do not have any problem with its use. Dogs are individuals, and what works for one dog, will not work for all dogs.

The key to having an obedient dog, whether for competition or for a pet, is consistency. If you tell you dog to sit, the dog must sit on the first command. If you get into a pattern of telling your dog more than once, the dog is faced with judging, "ok, is this one of the times when they will tell me 2 times or 3 times before I absolutely MUST sit."

Protection/Schutzhund Training

Before you decide to "protection" train your dog, there are several things you absolutely MUST consider. First, why do you want to work your dog in protection? If you are seriously working a sport, such as Schutzhund or NAPD (National Association of Protection Dogs) in which protection is a major phase or component of the sport, then do so responsibly.

If, on the other hand, you think it would be "cool" to have a dog that will "protect" you or bite people on command, THINK AGAIN. There is SERIOUS liability in having a dog that has the POTENTIAL to bite a human. If you are not prepared to spend a SIGNIFICANT amount of time and resources in your training, DON'T BOTHER. You will likely end up with an uncontrollable dog and one that is a hazard to society.

I have put this in bold and italics for a reason - read this and pay very CLOSE ATTENTION.

When we encourage dogs to BITE, we assume a whole other level of responsibility. If we do not train responsibly, we only risk the abolition of our right to train. IT IS HAPPENING IN GERMANY and it can happen here.