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In the last article, discussed some of the major points in how the training of hunting dogs has evolved differently than that of companion animals or pets.
We will continue that discussion in this article by discussing some of the specialized areas that companion dogs are trained in.
Companion animals are generally kept indoors except for walks and travelling. Thus their training usually includes some form of housebreaking and a set of manners. These manners generally include such things as staying off the furniture, not barking indoors, not begging for food at the dinner table and not drinking from the toilet.
Many companion animals are taught two different sets of rules for different situations, such as the “kiss-no kiss” commands which tell the animal whether it is appropriate to lick or not. (Particularly useful if your dog has a habit of drinking from the toilet.)
Companion animals range in all shapes, sizes and breeds but again consider your choices wisely according to your lifestyle.
What do we mean?
For instance, a hyper or energetic household might choose a pet that likes a lot of activity and socialization, perhaps a Dalmatian or similar breed.
All of these breeds have their own niches in the dog-human relationship. Choosing the right breed for your lifestyle should be a careful decision with a lot of thought and research and you can be guaranteed happiness with your choice for years to come.
As we mentioned in the previous articles, dogs trained for hunting should retain some of the more aggressive behaviors but in companion animals this is not necessary, except in the case of dogs kept for protection.
A less aggressive animal is much to be desired as a companion and will provide years of stolid companionship, rather than fighting and suffering, sometimes fatal, injuries. Some owners have their animals neutered as a way to curb aggressive tendencies, as well as controlling the stray pet population and decreasing roaming behaviors.
This is a suggestion to seriously ponder as many thousands of unwanted animals are euthanized every year but, by the same token, if something ever happens to your pet it might be comforting to have a pup from the same bloodline. While neutering has its benefits, first be sure that you do not wish to ever breed the dog.
Another difference in the training of companion animals is what most people refer to as pet tricks. We have all seen the dog that will hold a treat on the end of its nose until given the okay and then flip the morsel in the air and snap it up or the dog that plays Frisbee on the beach.
These are learned behaviors that take much patience and consistent training. Thus, they are usually reserved for companion animals that are in our contact more often than not. In my years of being a pet owner and visiting with other pet owners and trainers, I have seen all manner of pet tricks, some ranging from just plain dumb to pretty awesome.
On the dumb side, I have seen dogs that will drink beer and then howl in tune to old blues records for hours on end. On the awesome side, I have seen dogs that will climb to the top of a high dive and jump right off with no fear whatsoever. (It scared me though… it looked like one heck of a belly buster.)
These tricks are all the brainchild of some pet owner who said I wonder if Fido can learn this. So if you are acquiring a companion animal, start thinking. Find some new pet trick to amaze your friends and neighbours. Maybe you will have the first Chihuahua on the block that can fetch you a cold beer and the remote control on Super Bowl Sunday.
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