My neighbours, bless their hearts, take a keen interest in Milo and my wellbeing. They see me load him into my vehicle every Sunday afternoon on our way to some sort of dog class and often ask when we’ll be finished with the training.
What they don’t know is that asking me when I’ll be finished training Milo is sort of like asking an athlete when they’ll stop needing a coach.
Milo and I will always to go school because:
- He and I can always improve our performance. We can get faster and more precise.
- I can use all the coaching I can get. In class, the instructor sees things I don’t see. Sometimes I get in a rut with my instructions and Milo starts to anticipate our next move. Sometimes I reward him a bit late or a bit early. Sometimes I don’t keep my shoulders square and that pushes him out of heel position. A good instructor catches things I miss.
- Obedience classes give Milo practice being around new people and new dogs in a safe, structured environment. Some people have this weird idea that a well-socialized dog runs off to play with every creature they encounter. This is wrong and dangerous. Not all people and not all dogs want strange dogs to charge forward for a meet and greet. A well-socialized dog can stay calm, happy, and attentive in a wide range of situations. This is particularly important for dogs like German Shepherds who tend to be territorial and to bond with only one or a few people. For dogs like these, socialization is not like riding a bike, it is more like playing the piano–they have to practice.
Milo and I both enjoy learning new things. I’d rather take Milo to a training class than go to a movie and Milo loves using that big brain of his.
Curious puppies want to learn all the things.