For eight years before my son was born, the baby of the house was Gretl, our noisy miniature schnauzer mix. My husband and I adore our dog and although I have a short list of friends and acquaintances who have given their dogs away after having kids, I honestly couldn't imagine a post-baby life without the mutt.
But this beloved dog had a bad habit I never even realized was all that bad until I became a mom: barking. I was able to totally overlook the incessant, yippy barking for years. But once I had a napping baby at the house, the problem moved right up to the top of my priority list.
So you can imagine how excited I was when local dog trainer Angel Soriano told me my dog's barking could be remedied. Soriano, the owner of K9 University, has about 40 years of experience training dogs and he's hired a full staff of local dog trainers at K9. I was skeptical he could make my house a little quieter (you know, the whole "old dog, new tricks" thing) but K9's Facebook page does have 4.9 stars out of 237 reviews, so I figured I'd give it a shot.
Here are the top three things I learned from working with K9:
1. I'm not alone. Apparently, having a baby is a common reason for re-homing a pet. But even serious behavior concerns like aggression can usually be fixed with some training. Soriano explained it's not the age of the animal that's the biggest concern, but the age of the behavior. Even though I'd let my dog's unruly behavior go for her entire life, it was nothing that couldn't be fixed with some dedication and hard work on my end.
2. There are friendly ways to train your dog. I was worried when I started working with K9 that I'd have to suddenly punish my dog for this behavior I'd allowed her to do for years. Mallori, one of K9's expert trainers, came to my house and showed me friendly training techniques. All it took was a spray bottle of water and a lot of positive reinforcement to help my dog learn when and how long she should bark.
3. It's worth it. If you really want your dog to be part of the family, it's worth the investment of money and time to hire experts to curb negative behaviors. Even though my dog is older, I've spent a few weeks working with her on barking and now we have a more peaceful home for the rest of her life.
K9's process begins with an assessment of your dog. Through a quick phone call and an in-person assessment at K9's facility, I was able to give helpful background on my family situation that helped determine an at-home training would be a good fit. K9 also offers group classes and puppy classes at their northwest Oklahoma City training facility and even offers a boarding school for families that want the training done for them. To get the conversation started, visit myk9u.com or call 405-231-4335.