What are you working on with your dogs right now?

There’s always something, because as you know, training never really ends.

Some new dog owners seem to be under the impression that training ends after the dog passes beginning obedience classes or after the dog completes six sessions with a personal trainer.

But dog training never ends.

I have taken my dog to obedience classes for at least one session a year for the last seven years. We’ve repeated the “novice” obedience class about five times. It’s not because we’ve failed the class. It’s because there’s always more to learn.

The majority of the dog owners in those classes are capable of teaching the class themselves, even if they don’t consider themselves professional dog trainers.

Even dog trainers area always training their dogs. Even dog trainers take their dogs to obedience classes.

Not that obedience classes are for everyone or that classes are the only way to train a dog. They’re not.

Almost every day I practice training with my 8-year-old dog Ace.

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  • On walks, I reward him for heeling and “watch” for making eye contact.
  • I walk at different speeds and change directions and reward him for following along. Sometimes I run with my dog.
  • I encourage him to stand on different surfaces and obstacles like park benches and to climb up low trees.
  • I teach him new tricks like “get your leash” and “catch!”
  • I’m always taking Ace to new places and events like different coffee shops.
  • I’m always introducing him to different dogs so he can maintain his social skills.

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I don’t know how many thousands of hours I’ve spent training my dog, but it’s never something that ends just because he’s reached a certain age or because he’s mastered a certain number of commands.

With dogs, there’s always another challenge. It’s one of the things I love about dogs.

There’s always a goal. Always a reward. Always more to learn.

Black Lab mix sits on a park bench on a hike

What are you working on with your dog right now?

Let us know how old your dog is and how long you’ve had him or her.

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