Have you heard that Airedale training is impossible? Do you worry that only an expert trainer could ever effectively deal with this notoriously difficult breed? Well, stop worrying. The problems with Airedales have been exaggerated and in most cases completely understood. Your Airedale puppy will be extremely smart and independent-minded therefore he will need to ‘see the reason’ for what you are asking, much the same way a human child does. Also like a human child, you will need to keep the training fresh and interesting – switch techniques regularly and use inventive ways to communicate and your Airedale will respond extremely well to training.
Communication is the key to successful Airedale training. Watch an Airedale at training and you can almost see them asking ‘but why?’ Because of this, Airedales cannot be trained on ‘auto-pilot’. Each dog will be different in personality and tolerance levels and you will need to discover your puppy’s personal approach to learning. In the beginning, it makes sense to keep training sessions short and as simple as you and your puppy learn more about each other and form a working relationship. Airedales will respond well to positive reinforcement so be generous with praise when it is earned. They do not, however, do well with harsh training or discipline methods. If you are too harsh they will rebel against the training.
Once you have established effective communication with your puppy you will find he responds well to training efforts. Similar to most intelligent breeds, the Airedale needs to know ‘who is boss’ but you establish that through gentle firmness and consistency. Any attempts to dominate with threats and intimidation will do far more harm than good. Airedale training is about achieving balance and finding creative ways to encourage good behavior. Airedales are extremely versatile, and with proper training methods, they can learn to do almost anything.
Airedale training is not impossible. It is not even very difficult as long as you are willing to take the time to really get to know your dog and to establish great communication. As with all highly intelligent breeds, the rewards of training are many – a well-behaved dog, the ability to perform stunts or tricks, a cooperative relationship and your dog’s contentment are just a few of these.