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Dog training is all about who’s the boss

Persistence, patience are key for owners
By: Laura Albright, Journal Correspondent
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Leadership not bribery is a philosophy Victor Rogo has been training dogs with for 39 years. Rogo, teacher of Dog Training 101 offered through Auburn Recreation District, believes wholeheartedly that bribery using food or treats does not get your dog to cooperate or perform. 

“Bribery doesn’t work with our children and they have thought, reason and understanding. Dogs don’t have thought, reason and understanding,” Rogo said. 

Rogo implements a creative structure that used every day creates success. 

“Dogs will respond to anyone with food,” said Rogo. “I want them to respond to you. You will be demanding but not in a mean way.” 

He believes in three principles: insistence, persistence and consistence. Rogo goes on to explain the importance of the battle. 

“Dogs will push just like human children push their parents. And I want you to win every battle,” Rogo said. 

Rogo believes that dogs treat humans like other dogs 100 percent of the time. And humans treat dogs like humans. He suggests changing our thought process in this regard. 

“Treat your dog like a dog. Once your dog learns you are the boss, you have succeeded.” Conversely, Rogo goes on to say, “If your dog learns it can win a battle, he or she will do it again and again.” 

“Think dog – don’t think human,” Rogo stressed.

Heather Levinson just finished a five-week private lesson with her 4-year-old Pit Bull mix. Although once unable to take her dog for a walk, he now complies with her perfectly. 

“It changed my life,” Levinson said. “I was able to walk my dog on the leash within two classes. He’s a completely different dog after the five week class.” 

Levinson describes the top three points she learned during Rogo’s class. 

“Always stay calm,” Levinson said. “Even if it takes 100 times to move your dog into the correct position.” 

Second, she said the collar used is effective, because “It’s a special pop and release collar. Really just annoying to the dog and gets them to respond. Like poking someone.” 

Finally, Levinson stressed, “Patience and confidence.” 

Heather Keenan of Auburn has just completed four of five sessions with her 6-month-old Shih Tzu Mufasa. 

“Consistency is key,” Keenan said. During her first class Rogo walked her dog Mufasa, having undergone no past training, effortlessly on the leash. 

“The training classes are more for the owner than for the dog,” said Keenan. “I’ve learned how to be the leader.”

All of this, Rogo said, “Is about you being the boss.” 

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To take part ...

Who: Victor Rogo offers K-9 101 Dog Obedience Training Group through Auburn Recreation District. 

When: His next class is Sunday, Aug. 19 and Rogo has offered that class free to members of the armed services. 

Visit: auburnrec.com