Greatest American Dog Reality Show

Greatest American Dog Reality Show

If you haven’t watched the newest reality show – The Greatest American Dog – you should. Besides the judges who seem to think acting like Simon Cowell of American Idol is cool, it’s a great show. My favorite contestant team is Bill & Star. It’s a joy to watch how much they love each other – they have a mutual worship. Anyway, the show asks each owner/pet team to perform tasks that require some obedience skills. A recent article about the show and specifically about Bill & Star (

story_207030740.html?keyword=topstory) provides what I feel is the perfect way to look at training a pet…” There’s a lot of things that she has taught me. Basically, the lights on in there and I had to figure out the switches.” What I’ve found from years of training dogs and cats (used to own a training facility in KY) – is that often times, pet owners give up on looking for the ‘switches’.

Cat or dog (yes, I’ve trained them both) can learn so many things from you. Just a little training enhances the relationship and makes them a better family member. So many pets that end up in shelters are there because no one took a few minutes each day to teach them something.

I’ve been training my pets since I was 11 years old – my parents bought me a Doberman puppy; my first love. My grandfather took me to obedience classes every Thursday night; he sat and watched as me and my friend learned our lessons. I continued with it to competition level and we never scored less than 199 out of a possible 200 points. I was one proud ‘mom’. But I did things very different than what I was taught. Back then, obedience training was more of a ‘do this or I’ll hurt you’ style. Today thank goodness, in most cases, it’s very different.

Teach your pet some ‘things’. Nothing but good will come from it – IF you train them in a respectful way. Below is an example ‘lesson’.

sit, Sit, SIT, SIT!!!

Does this sound familiar? Often times, it seems that a dogs hearing doesn’t kick in until we repeat ourselves four or five times! Actually, just the opposite is true. They might not be listening – but they heard you.

Dogs have great hearing, in fact it’s better than 10 times that of a human. But just like a young child who doesn’t want to go to bed, often times they don’t listen. In an attempt to improve their hearing, begin to take notice of how many times you need to repeat yourself. From there, start to ignore what they want – until they do what you want.

As an example…Let’s say you ask them to sit in order to hook the leash to them to go for a walk. They are excited, jumping around and they really don’t want to sit. Ask one time, “Sit”, if you get no response – put the leash down and walk away for a few minutes. Your dogs jaw will probably hit the floor in disbelief. No need to scold them, just walk away. Go back in a couple minutes and try it again. “Sit” – no response, walk away again. Be persistent. Don’t give in. If it takes 5 tries, or 10 tries – don’t give in. Each time, break away from your dog for just a couple of minutes and go back and try it again. When ‘it’ finally happens, hook the leash and praise them like they just won you the lottery!!! Each time you go through this little lesson, things will get better and better. Soon, almost magically, your dogs’ hearing improves!

Wishing you and your pet the best,

Susan Thixton

Truth About Pet Food

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