Dear Crabby, Please Help Me Train My Dog!

Dear Crabby,

I need some advice on how to train my dog. I really don’t want to be hitting him with a newspaper all the time. What methods have you found to be successful?

Sincerely, Marie Hopeful

Dear Ms. Hopeful,

I am definitely not a professional at raising dogs. However, I have had a few pups in my life that I was quite attached to, as I have shared in the past. But these dogs did the hard work of getting to my heart. I was not the one working at our relationship if you know what I mean. That being said, I do know the value of a good trainer. As a matter of fact, my Uncle Ralph in Pennsylvania was one of the best dog trainers I had ever seen.  He had a dog that was trained so well, he would bring my Uncle his lunch in the middle of the day, walking several blocks with the brown paper bag in his mouth!  It was almost unbelievable.  He had this dog trained to get the morning paper, find his slippers, and even put the seat down on the toilet after he flushed!  OK, that last one was made up – but I’m sure he could have trained him to if he wanted!  I, however, was not as fortunate. For example, after I had had this one mutt for about four weeks, the dumb dog still piddled in the house, chewed on my slippers, and stared blankly at me when I called his name.  It was extremely frustrating!  The missus finally signed the dog and me up for some obedience training – for the dog, not for me you smart alec’s!  Anyway, in Rochester Hills, where we live, there is a great obedience training facility that offers these weekly classes. The dog and I attended for about six weeks and we were good to go. He started obeying and I stopped threatening to beat him with the newspaper. I will tell you though, I was never more thankful than when my friend shared his dog story with me. He had just purchased a dachshund, you know those long hot dog style dogs. He appropriately named him Frank.  Well, in order to break Frank in slowly, he trained him to piddle on some newspaper in his kitchen. After a month or so, he started taking Frank out for these long walks and noticed that he never did his business outside. Every time he got back to his house, Frank raced into the kitchen and piddled all over his kitchen floor.  Turns out that Frank was doing exactly what he was trained to do.  It took my friend months to retrain Frank and finally get him to do his business outside – what a mess! Well, I’m not sure if I answered your question or not, but I say let the professionals earn their wage – go find a good school and pay attention.  Let me know how it works out for you.

Sincerely, Dear Crabby

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Stuck in a rut? Need some biased advice from a crabby old baby-boomer? Read regularly by thousands and loved by some, Dear Crabby answers questions weekly to life's challenges. Send him a note at

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