Training the Trainer

Sometimes it's the owner who does the learning when a new puppy enters the picture.

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Do you look longingly at that tiny, adorable pooch but doubt your stamina to train a puppy? Don't tuck your tail and run. You'll miss some of life's most valuable lessons. Dog training mirrors an obstacle course, but an open mind coupled with compromise brings perspective, laughter, and friendship.

For a leg up in Dog Training 101, first picture that uncompromising but enthusiastic schoolteacher from your past. I recall one such teacher with an uncanny resemblance to my dog Oreo. Like my teacher's first day in the classroom, Oreo marched into our home, determined to teach me a lesson or two with her obstinate yet spirited style.

As I had shared most of my life with a dog or two under my roof, I assumed I had canine expertise. But a mere puppy taught me that I was barely housetrained. When Oreo joined our family, which included a seasoned Labrador Retriever, the so-called puppy training fell to me. Training Nick, our easygoing, eager-to-please Lab, had been a walk in the park. Oreo, our extroverted, energetic, Springer Spaniel-Beagle pup, however, came with a will of her own.


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