Dog trainers are like everyone else in that there are some situations that are just irksome. No matter how many times we encounter them, we are still irritated.

Dog trainers are some of the most patient people I know, due to their having to work with animals that don’t speak our language.

But we also work with owners and other people in the community that do. Which do you think is more difficult? You guessed it, the two-legged variety.

Here are some examples:

  • The inappropriate use of retractable leashes. These are fine in areas that have no traffic or people, such as a park, beach, empty lot, etc. These leashes should not be used on a sidewalk near a road or a store or an area where there are lots of people.

Your reflexes are NOT as fast as your dog’s movements across your body into the road, the path of another dog or bike, or jumping on someone.

Walk your dog by your side on a short leash when there are distractions. This teaches the dog to pay attention to you, which a retractable leash does not do.

  • People who wait until their dog is practically a senior citizen to address issues such as anxiety or aggression toward another dog or person. Does the owner think the problem is going to get better?

Many behavioral issues can be addressed early in a dog’s life, but most imprint through repetition, which means the longer the dog does it, the harder it is to modify or eradicate.

  • Owners not training their dogs or employing a trainer. We all love well-mannered dogs. We are proud to take them in public and to have guests in our home.

But no one enjoys a dog that jumps, pulls on a leash, barks incessantly or charges at other dogs and vehicles. If you work with your dog, whether small or large, the dog will be a joy to everyone.

  • Owners surrendering a dog because of problems the owner caused in the first place. These include lack of training as cited above.

Another is not neutering in a timely matter. Lack of neutering by about one year of age can increase the chance of behaviors such as marking in homes and other places, humping of dogs and humans, becoming dominant or aggressive, taking possession of other dogs and people.

  • Not considering the age and condition of another dog in your household when deciding to bring in a puppy. As I always say, your other dog does not have these on his wish list: sharp teeth, incessant jumping, and just generally not leaving him alone when he has reached an age when that’s no longer enjoyable.

What were you thinking? Either get a puppy or an adult dog when the other dog is younger or wait for the dog to pass before getting your next dog. Be respectful of older dogs; they deserve it.

Abby Bird is owner of Alpha Dog Obedience Training. ajbird@hargray.com