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Afghan Hound
Top Training Tips

I was fourteen when my parents bought their Afghan Hound. I had four younger brothers, so my mother had little time for that first dog, Sheba, during the week and I was asked to take care of her, a task that I took on with relish. I have always loved dogs and Sheba was a very easy dog to love.

Afghan Hound
Top Training Tips

Afghan Hound - Top Training Tips

On the weekends, my mother had more time, because she could enlist the help of her parents or an aunty to take care of the youngest children, while we all went to a dog show. A dog show, especially an outdoor one, was like a family outing with a picnic and sideshows and lots of enthusiasts talking about dogs.

The dogs had to be well-behaved to attend a show, naturally. It would have been no good having even a few aggressive or overly-excited dogs winding up the several hundred other dogs and fighting could mean a life ban from the show circuit.

Now, an Afghan Hound is a pretty big dog with big teeth and long legs, so they require good training or they could be very dangerous animals and most of that training fell to me, as I was the one who spent most time with her.

The first thing to know about an Afghan Hound is that they are intelligent. Most people believe that Collies are the cleverest dogs and I will go along with that, but an Afghan is just as clever. The only difference with an Afghan is that if you call it, it will come so far and then expect you to come the rest to met it. They are haughty and proud, whereas a sheep dog wants to please its master and is more subservient.

Remember those two points when training your Afghan Hound and you will find that it goes much more smoothly. It is like training a prince I imagine, you have to accept that he has status too.

Another thing to remember about Afghans is that the ancient rulers of Afghanistan used to use them for hunting cheetahs - the fastest animal on the planet. Being slower by definition, the Afghan Hound had to be bred:

1]  to work in a pack to outwit the cheetah and

2] for stamina.

You will never out-run an Afghan and he won't come right up to you, unless you give him good reason, so I taught my dog to catch.

One of the very first times I took Sheba out, it was to the local rugby field. I let her off the lead and she just ran and ran and ran until she was several hundred yards away.

I was pretty scared that I was going to lose her, but after a while, she turned and ran towards me like a bullet, but right past me and a hundred yards the other side. I kept calling and eventually, she just ran around me in a circle of a hundred metres diameter.

She kept that up for about thirty minutes and then lay down panting some 50 metres away. As soon as I got close, off she went again. Now I knew that she playing with me and I relaxed a little.

That evening, when I got her home, I did not feed her from her bowl, I threw biscuits and doggy chocs for her to catch instead. She learned to catch within thirty minutes, but then I knew that she would never run away from me far again.

Whenever she did, I would shout 'catch!' and she would stop dead, turn and face me. I would approach repeating 'catch!' and doing as if to throw a biscuit. She would wait expectantly. If I wanted to catch her, I would throw the biscuit short and pounce, but usually I had time to enjoy the game with her for a while.

I never ever took her out again without biscuits in my pocket and she never ever ran away, scaring me half to death like that again.

by +Owen Jones

Please take a look at my book on dogs by clicking here: 'A Dog's Life'