By Andrea Deeken, Hollywood Library clerk
I don’t know about you, but I just so happen to be the parent of a very gregarious five year old. He likes to have things his way. He can be volatile and reactive. He vocalizes loudly and often, at inappropriate times. He likes to be the boss of me and gets me to do just about whatever he wants. The irony in all this? He only weighs six pounds. He is not a child, but a dog. A dog with a lot of personality and spice in his tiny Yorkie frame. A personality that has started to wear on me just a bit, which led me to the avenue of training.
Gizmo has been trained before, but it was when he was a year old. He passed his beginning obedience class with almost flying colors. Fast forward four years, and things have begun to deteriorate. He is a nightmare on leash, always barking at other dogs, children, squirrels, the elderly, you name it. He is bossy to a fault and has to be in my lap at all times. He barks at our friends’ babies whenever they bring them over. In short, time for a change.
A few months ago, I started researching dog training at the library; and I was amazed at the extent of the collection. From books to DVDs to ebooks, the library has quite a few dog-training resources that you can access for free with your library card:
• Training for both ends of the leash: A guide to cooperation training for you and your
dog by Kate Perry and Yvonne Conza
• Training the best dog ever: A 5-week program using the power of positive reinforcement
by Dawn Sylvia-Stasiewicz and Larry Kay
• Complete guide to dog care: Everything you need to know to have a happy, healthy,
well-trained dog by Diane Morgan
• Your dog: The owner’s manual: Hundreds of secrets, surprises, and solutions for raising
a happy, healthy dog by Marty Becker
• 10-minute dog training games: Quick and creative activities for the busy dog owner by Kyra Sundance
Since my case is a bit extreme, I also decided to work with a trainer one on one. It’s been two months now, and the results have been amazing. On leash we have been working with clicker training, which allows Gizmo to be focused on me when there is a distraction such as a toddler or another dog. He is also crate trained now, which allows me to get a full night’s sleep, and I’ve adjusted his diet to help modify his reactive behavior.
Let my tale be a lesson to you: It doesn’t have to get to that point, not with all the resources the library has to offer. If I had been on top of Gizmo’s training from the very beginning, perhaps we never would have had to hire a trainer of our own. For more information on dog training, or doggy related events and library resources — like the children’s literacy program Read to the Dogs or blog posts on keeping your pets healthy — visit multcolib.org and search “dog training.” You’ll be glad you did.