Dogs have evolved alongside man for thousands of years, and that makes them ideally adapted to be our loyal, intelligent companions. It doesn’t make them small, furry people though! They are still dogs who need to navigate through life in a human world. With the right training, a dog’s loyalty and intelligence and their doggy nature can be channeled, developing an amazing dog you can lead, love, and trust. We can’t stress enough the many reasons training is so important for both dogs and their owners.
Although teaching your dog to respond to cues such as, “sit,” “stay,” and “leave it” seems very simple, the time you take to teach them these skills become the basis for developing a good dog and a great human-pet relationship. Whether you have a new puppy or an old dog, consider the following reasons to teach him or her some new tricks:
- Bonding: When you’re training your dog, you’re spending quality time together to accomplish a shared goal. This is a great way to bond and develop a mutual trust in one another.
- Communication: As you teach your dog new cues and observe their behavior, you’ll develop a better understanding of each other. The more clearly and consistently you are able to communicate with your dog, the faster teaching and learning will progress for you both.
- Behavior: The training your dog receives will help him or her understand what behaviors are acceptable to humans and which are not. This should decrease accidents. Also, all the time you’re engaging their body and brain in training activities is wearing them out, so they’ll have less pent up to energy that could otherwise translate into bad behavior.
- Enjoyment: Get out of the house, enjoy some sunshine, and have fun with your dog. There are lots of training activities out there that are enjoyable for both you and your dog. Go on a hike to practice heeling, play catch for fetching, or go for a dip for some playful water exercise.
- Stimulation: Every time your dog experiences something new, new connections are made in his or her brain. The more you teach them, the more you stimulate their brain. Your interactions make your dog smarter every time.
- Ease: Although the task of training itself may not always be easy, it will make your life easier in the end. The more you teach your dog earlier on, the happier you’ll both be as they age.
- Longevity: When people don’t take the time to train their dog they aren’t setting themselves or their dog up for a successful relationship. Unfortunately, when this happens, some owners give their dogs up to shelters. According to Great Plains SPCA, “a trained dog is six times less likely to be surrendered to a shelter.”
- Confidence: If a dog is lacking in training and interactive experiences, he or she can become fearful and shy which in turn leads to behaviors we humans often deem inappropriate. Training your dog gives them purpose and boundaries, and in return, this builds their confidence.
- Safety: Perhaps the most important reason to train your dog is to keep yourself and others safe. An obedient dog that has been properly socialized is less likely to bite someone. Additionally, training helps keep our dogs safe in a human world.