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March Q & A: Obedience Training & Spaying A Female While In Heat

Question: Mixed Obedience Behavior After Training

“My two-year-old male mixed breed is enrolled in an obedience training class. As far as I’m concerned, my dog is learning just fine, because, at home, he goes through all of the exercises perfectly. He knows how to heel, sit, stay, and lay down on command, but when I take him to class each week, it’s as if he’s never learned a thing.”

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“The trainer doesn’t seem to be too upset about it, and always just tells me that it will work itself out. For some reason I don’t feel confident about this and was wondering if you could tell me why my dog behaves this way.”

Answer:

It’s quite normal that your dog would go through his obedience exercises at home, yet turn into a class clown at school – if you are constantly practicing in a distraction-free environment. In class, there are distractions all around – other dogs, other people, other sounds.

If your trainer doesn’t seem to be too worried about the situation, then you are probably doing everything right insofar as making necessary corrections for inattention, etc. But I would certainly advise you to get your dog out of your backyard during your daily training sessions, and into locations where distractions are present.

Obedience is needed most in time of emergency. If your dog is easily distracted and fails to be obedient during periods of distraction, then you won’t ever be justified in saying that you have an obedience-trained dog. Work your dog in the midst of distraction, so that he becomes accustomed to the requirement of obedience – and realizes that his responsibility for being obedient includes times of emergency.

Question: Spaying A Dog While In Heat

“Being the forgetful person that I am, getting my female dog spayed has always slipped the calender. Now she is in heat and it is worse than ever! I would like to have her fixed by getting an operation this week but was wondering if it were a problem to get her spayed while during her heat session.”

Answer:

It’s better not to spay a dog while she’s in season since it involves some risks that otherwise would not be present. When the female is in heat, her uterus and blood vessels are enlarged, and this is what poses the risk. However, if it is necessary, any competent veterinary surgeon can perform the operation.

All of the veterinarians that we have researched and asked about this situation agree that they would attempt to talk to a dog owner out of requesting the surgery until the animal had completed the heat cycle; but if conditions warranted the immediate surgery, they all agreed that they would perform it – after first making the elements of risk known to the dog owner.