Reasons To Train Your DogTraining ensures that you will spend time with your dog. To train your dog, you have to work with it, preferably every day. A social animal, your dog craves time with you, and the fortunate side effect of getting your dog (an yourself) some exercise couldn't hurt. The more time you spend with your dog...the more time you will discover about his unique characteristics.
Training improves your relationship with your dog. Like their wolf ancestors, dogs have a pack mentality. They want a leader, and if you don't assume that role, they try to fill it themselves. As you train your dog, you establish a relationship in which your dog learns to trust and look up to you, to respect you as a kind and benevolent leader. Gradually, he will learn to seek eye contact with you and become more attuned to your wishes.
Training makes your dog smarter. A trained dog pays more attention to the world around him and is more attentive to humans. If you train your dog well... using a positive rather than a punitive method of training...you will find that the dog's reasoning capacity grows. He will actually try to figure things out. Yes, most dogs can think and reason to a limited extent, and they generalize easily.
Obedience training helps solve other problems. Many behavioral problems dogs exhibit are actually relational problems, occurring because the dog is unsure of its role in the family "pack" , or because it thinks it is the leader. As you train and your dog's admiration for you grows, you may find that some of his unpleasant behaviors disappear. You can solve other problems easily as you learn how to relate to your dog, or as you get help from your training class instructor.
Training opens doors...literally! You'd be surprised at how many establishments will gladly admit a dog that sticks like glue to his owners side, responds instantly to his owners voice and holds a rock-steady stay. Hiking, camping, beach trips and shopping all become open territory for the dog that can accompany its owner politely. Of course, there are still some places that are off limits to the nicest dogs.
Basic obedience training opens the door to learning fun activities. Agility training is very popular, and it's an activity that welcomes both mixed and pure breeds. If you've ever watched this fast-moving sport, wanted to get involved, but despaired because you couldn't keep your dog under control...with a little obedience training, you and your dog can easily get into the game. And once you have laid the training foundation, you can go on to flyball, scent hurdles, tracking and Frisbee catching.
Your groomer, boarder and vet will thank you. Boarding kennels would love to see more dogs that can walk nicely on a leash. And any vet will tell you that a trained, socialized dog is much easier to examine than its untrained counterpart, and all those who work with dogs appreciate not being bitten.
And last, but certainly not least, training can save your dogs life. No ribbons, no trophy, no smile of admiration from a friend at your dog's cute tricks will ever equal your feeling of accomplishment if your training efforts one day save your dogs life. Though no one pictures their dog in such a horrible situation, can you imagine the terror of seeing your dog frolicking unaware toward a busy street full of speeding cars or dashing away, having slipped out of his collar? What relief you would feel if you witnessed your dog sit instantly at your command and return to your side when called.
Training your dog won't be easy. It takes lots of patience, time and just plain hard work before it will reach the stage at which you can proudly show off your work, but it is worth the effort. Every dog can be trained. Some breeds and certain dogs may take a little more time, but they can be trained. If no classes are offered in your area, you can do it yourself with the help of books and training videos. You and your dog will be glad you did.
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