Everyday Adventures in Havachon Heaven

The Good, Crazy, & Adorable Life of One Havachon Puppy

Jan Fennell is a Training GENIUS!

on July 23, 2010

One thing we learned very quickly about our little Havachon – she’s as challenging as she is cute. After all, she’s descended from two breeds known to be smart, and she picked up every last one of those genes. If you ask me, she’s a little TOO smart – outsmarting us at every turn seems to be her forte. Sometimes you can practically see those wheels turning in her head as she assesses a situation and decides on her response!

Jan Fennell’s training is based on a simple theory – become the Alpha leader in your home. Makes sense, right? Jan studied dogs in the wild to see what traits Alphas exhibited that kept the rest of the pack in line, then translated those lessons into human-to-dog relationship training. Completely non-violent, no hitting, pushing, or yelling involved. Sounded excellent and worth a try.

Our little puppy thought she was queen of the land. Although she could be sweet, shy, and loving, she could also be demanding, hyper, and nippy. We were already frazzled to the core after only having her three weeks – among other things, she absolutely refused to use the wee-wee training pads; when we’d lead her to the pad every 20 minutes (all the experts said this should have her trained within a week for the most part), she’d sniff around, walk off the pad, and look us straight in the eye as she peed and pooped all over the carpet. Very deliberate. And that stubbornness overflowed into other behaviors as well. We thought she might be untrainable, but Jan says that no dog is untrainable and she’s worked with seriously scary dogs!

The next weekend we took a pile of dog training books and CDs out of the library and went hard-core studying them all so we could implement some form of training and get our little monster under control. Among all of the experts, we found Jan Fennell’s techniques the best and most logical, and we also liked the fact that the result would be a respectful dog, not one who is always in a state of submission like Cesar Milan touts. I’m sure his outcome is great for many people, but it wasn’t for us. We also found Paul Owens’s CD good for teaching things like stay, sit, down, heel, etc. to be a wonderful visual accompaniment using a fun technique, so we narrowed our methods down to those two. First, though, before any command training, we needed to for Daisy to accept us as Alpha leaders and to trust us implicitly.

I can’t even begin to tell you what a difference Jan’s techniques made in our pooch. We used her book, The Dog Listener, like a daily Bible of Dog Training, referring to it every time we needed assistance with some new type of rebellious behavior Daisy tried. Immediately, we could see that the difference in our behavior toward her was having an impact. We did make some minor adjustments in consideration of the fact that we were dealing with a young pup and not a grown dog, but those were very minor adjustments.

The most important aspect of her book, I think, is that it taught us the workings of the dog mind so that we could understand better why Daisy was acting the way she was and also how she was interpreting our responses to her actions. VERY big differences in how the dog mind processes things from the way the human mind works! This helped us deal with any new challenges she threw our way. With serious adherence to Jan’s techniques, we now have a wonderfully respectful, loving puppy who responds to our commands and behaves very well. And Paul Owens’s techniques have her sitting, staying, and lying down by hand signals alone – that worked immediately as well.

Of course, Daisy is a 4-month old puppy, so she’s still testing here and there and tries to get around us sometimes, but because Jan’s method laid the groundwork of establishing a hierarchy, she realizes very quickly from our response to her misbehaviors that her little rebellious attempts aren’t going to work. And we learned that consistency is key in maintaining the right balance in our human-to-dog relationship. 🙂

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One response to “Jan Fennell is a Training GENIUS!

  1. tiffy40 says:

    You sound like a great dog parent! Raising a puppy is a lot of work and it looks like you’re doing a great job. Daisy is lucky to have you and I’m sure she will grow up to be an absolutely wonderful dog!

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