Mother Knows Best - The Natural Way to Train Your Dog

Carol Lea Benjamin authored a book on the above name (copyright 1985).

I have had 4 Old English Sheepdogs over a span of over 25 years.

Each one was trained very differently and yes, behaved very accordingly.

The first, Lord Stolichnaya (all registered OES are ladies and lords) belonged to my husband; I only met him when he was fully grown.  He took him to work, to bars, restaurants and pretty much stayed with him 24/7.  He NEVER did anything wrong.

Along came Chatty (Lady Chatterly) I did not crate her. I also took her to work; when I stopped, she ate my shoes (all of them) and a work out bench.

She had a litter; I kept one, Stingbee ( no Lady here); she was crated but she was trained by her mom.  There were no accidents, no damages, no scoldings.

I got lazy with the fourth, lady Guinevere, Gwenny. I let her out to take care of business in a well marked dog run. 

I crated her but was not by her to give her well deserved praise. She pulled and pushed on her leash so I never continued that training.  She barked and I gave in to her with treats and attention. Vets yelled at me to control her barking in the office.  I undid all the good training her mom performed in the 8 weeks she attended to her.

Her mother taught her how to go outside.  In the wild, a mother would have raised her pups in a cave or den and cleaned up the wastes. Then, she would have scooted them outside to do their business. Likewise, we crate our puppies as though they were in a den or cave.

Moms don't deny their pups meals if they misbehave. Likewise, they don't sneak food under the table

to their pups or reward their bad barking behavior with food. 

Gwenny's mom had already taught her puppy to accept leadership, to handle praise and correction with equanimity, to heed meaningful sounds, to play gently, and to wait her turn. She was a remarkable teacher.

I  didn't learn from her. I rewarded my puppy's bad behavior; she barked, jumped and was vindictive.

When praising or correcting a puppy, the mother operates in the here and now. Humans can deal with past behavior, such as a misdeed performed earlier on. We can show our dog the destroyed pillows, the soiled rugs, the chewed door as once reminded ;then is now.

However, I believe that crating prevents the puppy from the above poor behavior and results.

I believe we can spoil our pups but we can't reward poor behavior. We are responsible to get home in a timely manner for our pups to go outside. We are responsible to exercise her enough so that she is tired. We are responsible to feed her before she smells my steak.

I know now how I will continue Mom's training for my new pup.

Written By Co-founder Laurie Leahy