Wednesday, 17 November 2010

What makes a SuperDog?

All it takes to make a SuperDog is motivation and a lot of cookies.

At least, that’s how Sue Trout’s Rottweiler Slinger learns.

Slinger, who’s three, twisted, hopped, and danced in front of a roaring crowd Tuesday afternoon.

Trout, along with her dog, is in Toronto for the 88th annual Royal Agricultural Winter Fair to perform at the SuperDogs competition.

An owner of two Rottweilers, Trout, 58, prefers to train almost every day.

“I’m kind of a train-a-holic. I just enjoy spending the time with my dogs and seeing what I can come up with and what I can teach them.”

Having performed with her dogs in the SuperDogs show for 22 years, Trout says the best way to train a dog is to be very motivational, instead of getting frustrated and angry with them.

Alluding to shows such as The Dog Whisperer which uses choke chains to train dogs, Trout thinks the methods used are not the correct ways to help a dog learn.

“To anybody, who will take a dog and hang it till his breath has gone out of him and then put it on the ground and say ‘Look, I have control’, that’s not training. That’s abuse,” she said.

Instead, Trout advises dog owners to go to a proper dog training school.

She thinks that people abuse dogs because they don’t realize that dogs have to be taught to behave and learn from their mistakes.

“People expect that dogs just drop out of the womb knowing how to heel. Well they don’t. You have to teach them. So take a cookie, shove it in their nose and walk them up the driveway for three weeks saying, "This is where I want you to heel.”

For Trout, she prefers to spend time with each of her two dogs to give them the attention they need.

“I don’t want my dogs suppressed. I want them keen to be able to make a mistake and go: ‘I’m not going to get a reward for that,’ rather than being punished.”

Nicky Snook, a personal dog trainer, also says that a dog’s behaviour can be traced from how the owner acts.

“I believe what energy used and portrayed are what the dogs are going to feel. So if you’re scared, the animal is going to feel it. So you just need to be very calm, and be relaxed about it. They do better that way. They feel that you’re confident as well. That’s what I find with every dog I’ve worked with that have fear problems or aggression problems. You can’t get anxious. It just doesn’t work for them. Praise, telling them “Good Dog”, petting them at the right time, feeding them at the right time, you can get them over those obstacles.”

Snook, 38, says a lot of people are in too much of a hurry to train their dogs. She suggests taking small steps to show the dog to not be afraid and to learn.

“It’s taking the time to work with the dog. Taking the time to build that dog’s confidence. I want to help the people who want to help the dogs, and enjoy the dogs."

Sue Trout and her Rottweiler Slinger. 

1 comment:

  1. I have known Sue for all 58 years and she is very dedicated to her dogs and her mission to teach dogs with positive disipline not abuse - I admire her not only because she is my sister but because she's so wanting to help people enjoy their 4 legged family member - Sue has a wonderful sense of humor and you can tell her girls know it - They totally love her as I do!
    Deyanne Koster