7 canine training tips from a Russian dog whisperer

Any dog must be trained, irrespective of its size. Source:  Shutterstock

Any dog must be trained, irrespective of its size. Source: Shutterstock

Until recently, many Russians preferred to have large dogs of fighting breeds, however, not all of them devoted the necessary time to training their pets. Anna Vavilova, a professional dog trainer and an expert in handling hunting dogs, tells RBTH about the fundamental rules dog trainers in Russia use in their work.

In Russia, dog training is stricter than abroad, explains Anna Vavilova, a professional dog trainer and an expert in handling hunting dogs. These are the main rules that professional dog trainers in Russia recommend using:

 

1. Consistency

  If a dog is allowed to do something, then it should be allowed to do it at all times; if it is not allowed to do something, the ban should be consistent too. A dog has no way of understanding that on Sundays it is allowed to jump into the master’s bed but not on Mondays. While it can be explained to a child after a certain age, say, that they are not allowed to put their feet on the table when there are guests in the house, but are free to do it when just them and their parents are present, a dog will not understand this. But a dog can comprehend a difference in outside conditions. 

“For example, mine is a hunting dog and it has been trained that it is not allowed to chase ducks on a pond in the city, however, when we are near a swamp in the country, there is no stopping it, it will be looking for a duck until it finds one. It does not understand the difference between a domesticated and a wild duck, but it does understand the difference between a city pond and a forest lake,” Vavilova explains.

 

2. Persistence

If a command has been issued, it is necessary to get the dog to perform it, even if it does it rather badly. Otherwise, the dog will think that a command does not have to be obeyed.


3. Objectivity

It is important to assess one’s own strength and resources and to understand the implications of getting this or that type of dog. Puppies of all breeds, including fighting ones, look cuddly and vulnerable. But it is important to remember that a puppy will soon transform into a beast. Even when a dog is treated like a child in a family, it is necessary to realize that it has teeth.


4. Timeliness

A dog must be trained straight away, from a very early age. A month of puppy life is approximately equal to a year of human life, i.e. a month-old puppy is like a year-old baby who is learning to walk. People tend to forget that all games when a puppy bites are not a joke but are its first steps to protect its territory. Unless you want your dog to bite you later on, this should be nipped in the bud. The animal must know that it cannot use teeth against a human being.


5. Dominance

It is necessary to show who is in charge. Otherwise, the dog may establish its own rules and the humans will have just to step aside in order not to get on its nerves.

 

6. Ignoring

 A dog can be punished not only via the use of force – ignoring it can be a very powerful means of training. This method works particularly well with emotional and attention-seeking dogs.


7. Size does not matter

Small dogs, which people sometimes treat as a harmless accessory, must be trained too. They must not be allowed to show aggression and must be taught what is allowed and what is not. Any dog must be trained, irrespective of its size. 

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