Monday, April 8, 2019

Pet Pointers: Effective Dog Training Techniques

Every year, 3.3 Million dogs enter U.S. animal shelters, according to the ASPCA. Of those, about 670,000 dogs are euthanized. This is horrible to hear and report, but necessary for people to know so we can do more to change those statistics. Donations and adoption are great ways to help animals in shelters. But there’s even more we can do to prevent them from getting sent there in the first place.
Canine authority Jeff Franklin, owner of Cobra Canine, believes, “If all dogs just had good manners our shelters would mostly be empty.” 
He’s on a mission to educate audiences about the biggest myths of dog training—observed over his 20 years working with over 10,000 pet dogs and families as well as developing the Elite Working dog program for the United States Military. In order to keep dogs in homes, families need to change the way we are training our pets by moving away from command training and focusing on lifestyle training. 
“The majority of our clients have tried ‘training’ with little or no success with what they see as the biggest issues-jumping, stealing food, getting on furniture, excessive barking, and running out the door every time it is opened,” elaborates Franklin.  “Commands do not teach a dog to behave well.”

With National Pet Parents Day April 28th, Adopt a Shelter Pet Day April 30th, National Rescue Dog Day May 20th, Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month for April, and National Pet Month in May, it's a great time to have this interview with Franklin to learn more.

What are some myths surrounding dog ownership?

There are more myths circulated among dog owners than one would readily believe.  In our business, we have come across several that are passed on routinely as facts.
People believe the adage ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks’.  This is simply false.  Dogs of any and every age are able to learn new things if their owners are willing to put in the time and effort that training requires.  We have taught dogs as young as a few weeks old and as old as 16 years to do tricks or change behaviors.
Another myth is the idea that ‘you should rub their nose in it’…. meaning- to ‘punish' the animal for using the bathroom by putting their face in it.  This is one of those myths we all loathe.  You can not and should not punish an animal for doing something biologically necessary.  Instead, dogs need to be taught the proper places to relieve themselves (outside) - and this takes time, energy and most importantly- Consistency.
Another strange habit and myth we hear is ’train your puppy to go on paper (in the house)’.  This is the opposite of what anyone should do.  Training your dog to use the bathroom on paper, within your home, only teaches the animal that it is ACCEPTABLE to go IN the home.  If you aren’t willing to take your dog outside for bathroom breaks a minimum of 3-4 times a day, then you probably are not ready for the responsibilities of pet ownership.
A big myth we hear is that ’slip collars (also known as choke chains) are safe, but pinch collars and E-collars are not’.  This is farther from the truth than any of the other myths we consistently hear from clients, colleagues, and owners around the globe.  Slip collars are more likely to do permanent harm (especially to the dog’s trachea or wind pipe) or even cause death by choking- than a properly fitted pinch collar or electronic collar could ever do.  While it is understandable that things one is not trained in can seem ‘bad’ - education on how and when and why certain tools are used is just as important in dog ownership and dog training as it is in knowing which tools to use in other professional fields.  A doctor performing surgery is most likely never going to use a chainsaw, but a landscaper probably should.  The same goes with dogs- each dog, and thus each of their very unique personalities and those with ‘jobs’ to do require different tools to get the job done.

Why is it important to change the way owners train pets?The average owner means well.  They decide to get a pet, they bring them home, but then they often neglect the fact that a dog needs to learn how to behave and have manners in our human world- and they simply can not learn those manners and behaviors without adequate and consistent training as well as sustaining the training over the relationship and lifespan with their pet.  It is important for owners to realize that there are people who specialize in pet training for a reason.  Just as we go to a doctor when we are sick, or we go to an accountant to handle our taxes, trainers who are experienced in this field can help give owners and their dogs the proper knowledge to do what is needed to live happily with their owners and to be assets to our lives.  If you don’t know the answers, don’t go off of myths and word of mouth- find an expert and get the tried and true facts of how to train your pet.  Just as we get our vehicles serviced every 5000 miles at the auto shop, our dogs also need to be equipped with skills and training to make sure that your next 12-18 years together, is cohesive.

How can people look for the right breed for their lifestyle?We always hear people who get excited about a particular breed because of how the dog ‘looks’ or simply because they think a breed is ‘cool’.  Many clients of ours have purchased dogs because they saw one in a movie or on a tv show.  Another lot of our clients have purchased particular working breeds because they want a ‘personal protection’ dog for home.  None of these are good reasons for selecting a breed to invest in and live with for upwards of 15-20 years.  We recommend looking at your home and lifestyle factors first before selecting a dog.  Are you energetic with lots of free time and like the outdoors?  Then there are breeds which may fit your lifestyle which will not necessarily fit someone else's.  If you are a workaholic, gone 10-12 hours of the day, and prefer to stay at home?  Then this is certainly conducive of a more relaxed breed that may require less energy, exercise or work.  Pick up a dog breed book from amazon or your local bookstore and research the breeds that interest you.  Do you want a long haired dog which will require daily brushing, trips to the groomer?  If you are looking at sporting breeds, know that they will most likely require More exercise than others.  Something to note is that all breeds- No matter which you select- will require exercise, grooming (nail clippings) and veterinary care regularly.  We recommend seeing what you have time for and interest in and then finding out the facts before making a selection.

What are some tools that pet owners often overlook?
Pet owners often hear that crates are places of punishment (another myth)…but crate training is actually one of the best lessons you can teach your pet.  They learn to take regular bathroom breaks by being crate trained and they also learn that they have a safe space which is theirs to rest if they need time away.  Crates are overlooked- but this is because they are not supposed to be treated as a place of punishment for ‘bad’ behavior.  They should be a safe-haven and training tool used for the life of your pet.
Another overlooked tool are good collars.  People are passing on myths that regular neck collars are ‘mean’- and switching to harnesses.  But a good collar is a much better tool than a harness could ever be as harnesses encourage ‘pulling’ due to opposition reflex.  If you want your dog to pull you like a husky on a sled team, use the harness- otherwise, stick with the tried and true neck collar in a properly fitted size and in a durable material.

Jeff Franklin has been featured on TV interviews, including:
About Jeff Franklin
Canine authority Jeff Franklin is the owner and operator of Cobra Canine, a full service dog training center and kennel providing the world’s very best canine training for dog obedience, detection and security services. Franklin has over 28 years of experience and has worked with over 10,000 pet dogs and families. He goes beyond typical avoidance training, such as teaching placement commands, and instead focuses on teaching dogs how to live in a human world. By instructing owners how to take the confusion out of things for the animal, and teaching dogs manners and lifestyle skills, Franklin transforms the lives of families and turns pets into assets. 
As the pioneer behind Elite Working dogs trained for the United States Military—and a veteran himself—Franklin also trains dogs for police, SWAT, Military units, personal protection and drug detection. He has been directly responsible for serving the needs of several large programs including DOS, DOD, Pentagon, U.S. Customs, U.S. Military, Guatemala, Ecuador, El Salvador, Paraguay, Algeria, and numerous police departments. Additionally, Franklin has over ten years of real world experience as a police canine handler and trainer, and has seen first-hand the results of his efforts. His memoir by Matthew Duffy, Franklin: The Man Behind the United States Commando Dogs, offers an exhilarating look into his fascinating career and is available on Amazon. Connect with Jeff Franklin on Facebook @franklinjcanine, Twitter @CobraCanine, Instagram @franklincanine and visit

1 comment:

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