Outdoors Column: Dog Training

In order for a dog to be a functional part of a family, a certain amount of training is required. Sometimes, I wonder if the dog does not also train the family as much as the family trains the dog. An example of this is the dog going outside. We train our dogs to go to the door to let us know when they need to go to the bathroom. This is important to instill in a dog, so we do not have to clean up a mess. When you have to go, you have to go. We learn to jump up and let the dog out whenever he goes to the door. They soon learn, going to the door will get the people in the house off the couch and to the door. A person dares not, not believe them when they indicate they want out. The dog has learned to go outside to do his business. The people have learned to open the door when the dog wants to stand in the door and look outside or just get up and pay attention to him.


My older son, Walter and his wife have two well trained standard poodles. My son has also been well trained by his dogs. They let him know when it is time to go for a ride in the car, play ball, or get a treat. The system works well for both sides. My younger son, Damon thinks dogs should earn their keep by hunting or something useful rather than running the household by training their masters. Mostly as a joke, for Christmas, Damon bought his brother and wife a dog monitor. He knew it would not take long for the dogs to learn to run their master’s lives remotely.


From a person’s smart phone, a person can see and talk to the dogs at home. When the dogs learn how to use it, they can also call their master. When they stand in front of the monitor and bark, the owner’s phone will be notified. Damon thought this would be hours of entertainment having his brother’s dogs interrupting business meetings or breaking his concentration at the skeet range.


The dog monitor has worked out even better than Damon had hoped. Last weekend, Walter went out to his usual Saturday morning coffee club. All was going well until his wife had to make a run to the grocery store. She left the dogs home alone, which they thought was unacceptable. Coffee conversation was going along when Walter’s phone alarmed. He discreetly checked it and burst out laughing. His two dogs were sitting in front of the monitor with sad eyes, letting him know they had been abandoned. He passed the phone around the table so everyone could see how sad his dogs were. With words of encouragement from everyone at the table, the dogs were feeling somewhat better by the time the phone got back to Walter.


Damon was elated when he heard how well the monitor works. There are few things better than torturing your brother. Enabling the dogs to call Walter whenever they felt the need could be really annoying. That was the whole point; a high technology way of dog training.