By Gail Nott

Training Techniques


Years of counseling couples and breeding and exhibiting show dogs has led me to the conclusion that one can utilize identical training procedures to insure appropriate behaviors by husbands and puppies.

First and foremost, do not yell, scream or wave your arms. Both hubby and puppy are threatened by loud, threatening gestures. Husbands run to the den or the nearest bar; puppies hide under the furniture. It is equally hard to extract them from these locations. Words consisting of only one syllable seem to be audible. “Honeeee” works well with men, “treat” is recognized by puppies.

Behavior modification and positive reinforcement are suggested. When hubby leaves clothes strewn all over the house, quietly pick them up, place in a heavy-duty trash bag and hide in your closet. Eventually, he will run out of clean clothes. It is not recommended that you put what the puppy leaves on the floor in a trash bag, in your closet. When the husband begins to put his clothes in the hamper, reward him with the TV remote. Puppies prefer a dog biscuit.

Husbands and puppies must be taught that the garbage collector is not stealing their stuff; it is not acceptable to drag old clothes, shoes or sports equipment off the truck nor bite the driver. Reinforce that a simple growl will do when they are tired, cranky or displeased; it is not necessary to snap.

I must warn you that husbands and puppies will appear to have learned new behaviors perfectly. When you ask them to demonstrate, i.e. honey, would you fix the garbage disposal, or Fido, roll over, they will stare blankly at you pretending to have no idea what you are talking about.

Exercise is important for both. Suggest that hubby walk the dog. As pretty, young girls are usually drawn to pet a dog, your man will perceive himself to be a babe magnet and eager to walk Fido daily. A second benefit is that both dog and walker can pee on the same tree.

Training with voice commands must be seriously considered before implementing. Husbands appear to inherently have mastered “Sit” and “Stay.” It is suggested that you practice “Come” and “Walk” when nearing the sports or audio shops at the mall. Puppies, on the other hand, will respond to a gentle tug, smile and pat on the head.

It is never wise to provide either trainee with too much liquid. Two daily six packs of beer for a husband will result in frequent training sessions about toilet seat placement.

A consistently full and available water bowl for a puppy may result in a slip and fall.

Flatulence, while a normal bodily function, should be discouraged in social settings. It is not acceptable for the trainee to pull the blankets over the head of the trainer and evacuate. Puppy, should it be lucky enough to sleep on the bed, should not be allowed to repose and expel on the trainer’s pillow.

While it has been suggested that the only difference between a new husband and a new puppy is that after a year the puppy is still happy to see you, never give up hope. Always be prepared to try a new training technique. Remember, amateurs built the ark; professionals built the Titanic.

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