Let’s Go Fido positive dog trainer Louise Newman cannot remember a time when she did not have a dog.  Now she has 3 dogs, Hobbs, Rosie and Harry.  All 3 dogs have participated in pet education programs for schools. Although this makes them sounds angelic they still get up to plenty of mischiefs!  The dogs comply with house rules but Lou reveals who really is the boss in her household and why training your dog is important.

Who’s the Boss?  Did you grow up with dogs?

Lou: I cannot remember a time when I did not have a dog, growing up … I think leaving home and going to Uni’ would have been the first time. I was fortunate to grow up with giant and lap dogs.  When I was in Kindy we fostered Susie, the Bull Mastiff, who would walk me, I could not keep up and still have the scars on my knees to remember.  Katie, the sausage dog would be smuggled into my bedroom each night, peddled around town in my basket and hidden in my coats on the trains, she went wherever I went. My parents work, meant we moved a lot and each posting had the possibility of lots of dogs, chickens , rabbit , ducks , goats , even a donkey once and then we had a our own family pets.

Who’s the Boss?  What dogs do you have now?

Lou: Now we have 3 dogs, which I would not recommend to any pet owner! Each day we rotate walks, 2  dogs on one walk and then one dog gets a one on one walk. This gives them time away from each other, to allow them to be themselves rather than mould their behaviour to the others traits.

We have Rosie 11-year-old Cocker Spaniel, Harry 8-year-old Golden Retriever and Hobbs 6-year-old Labrador.  All the dogs have been part of pet education programs going into schools for reading or safety chats.  Although this makes them sounds angelic, they still get up to plenty of mischiefs.

Hobbs is a good example of poor breeding. His litter has had many knee and elbow operations, alongside separation anxiety or generalised anxiety. Pet insurance, quality vet care and training are the key ingredients to managing a dog with anxiety.

Who’s the Boss? Do they follow your house rules?

Positive dog trainer Louise Newman and her 3 dogs

Rosie. Photo supplied by dog trainer Louise Newman

Lou: Hobbs and Harry are great, they will anticipate what is going to happen and adapt their behaviour. Rosie however truly believes that she deserves special privileges being 11. She now wants to rest upon a bed so that she can be away from the boys or hang under the table instead of her basket at meals times.

House rules are complied with. Distraction outside of the home, especially predatory behaviours have been the challenge over the years. Rosie is a bird chaser especially ducks and in her youth. The ducks would fly and land in the harbour, Rosie would swim out chasing them and then lose her bearing back to shore… Instead, she would head to the nearest land which could be a headland away!!

Harry loves to fish and again, in his youth he would take great pleasure in losing himself in this hobby. If I was more than 5 m away he would not hear me …. A long line and the Premack principle helped them both, with that training.

Who’s the Boss?  So, who’s the Boss?

Lou: Rosie, the kids adore her. The dogs adore her … she is fun. Even in her dotage.

Who’s the Boss? Why is training a dog important?

Lou:  Dog training builds the bond between you and your dog … you have a common language. You get to understand what makes your dog tick…, what they enjoy and can be used as a reward. Why they do some of the things that they do.  Buying Rosie a Frisbee saved me swimming in the harbour!!! Most importantly training allows your dog to come out with you, the more time you spend together, the better the bond, the greater the understanding and respect.

I truly believe that to enjoy your dog, you need to make the time to train your dog.