As exciting as it is to bring a new pet into the family, it’s important to temper that excitement with training. The earlier you start working with your new pet, the easier it will be to teach him to obey basic commands.
Some people resist formal training – whether in the form of obedience classes or training at home – because they consider their dogs to be part of the family. While that is a popular sentiment, you must understand that you are not doing your dog any favors by withholding training.
Would it be a service to a child to fail to provide training, and not teach a child right from wrong? Would you resist setting boundaries for a child? Some parents do, and with disastrous results. A child with no boundaries will push the limits over and over again until they wind up in some sort of negative situation. Children who have not been taught how to behave are often unpleasant to be around, and they do not know how to act in various social situations.
The same basic principle applies to dogs. A dog that has not been taught right from wrong will likely act in ways that are inappropriate. This is not the dogs fault as he has never been trained, but it can make for unpleasant, and possibly dangerous, situations.
Properly training your dog is one the best things that you can do for him. A dog that is trained and responds instantly to commands is less likely to be left behind when the family goes for a walk in the park, on a road trip or to visit relatives. The dog will know exactly what is expected from him in different situations, so he will be more relaxed instead of being confused about his role.
A dog that is well-behaved will not be locked in the garage or left in the yard every time you have company. He will not jump all over your guests, but rather – after barking to alert you that someone is at the door – will instantly obey your command to sit.
Some people avoid dog training, because they look at it as a way to force your dog to lose their own personality, but that is not the case. Training is all about communication. It’s about teaching the dog that YOU are in charge, and teaching him the importance of obeying your commands.
Training is equally important for all dogs, regardless of size or breed. While there are times when different training techniques will be needed, the goal for all training is the same: To be sure that your dog is obedient to your commands.
Such training will help keep your dog safe. An obedient dog is not likely to run away from you during a walk, or escape from the yard and find himself in harm’s way. An obedient dog is not going to cause trouble with the neighbors by chasing them along the fence and barking every time they walk by your yard.
With a larger dog, another important goal of training is to keep other people and animals safe. A dog that is well trained is not going to bolt after a cat or a child riding by on his bicycle. This type of action can have tragic consequences for your pet, even if he never intends to bite what he chases.
Some people think that dog training isn’t important if they want their dog to stay outside (not recommended) and act a guard dog. This is simply not true. Regardless of what “job” you have for your dog, it is very important that the dog knows who is in charge, and that he is able and willing to follow your commands. Just because a dog is to act as a guard dog doesn’t mean that he will never be in a situation with other people. He needs to know how to act in social situations. Properly training your dog will not inhibit his ability to act as a good watch or guard dog.
A well trained dog is also going to be much more pleasant to live with. He will not destroy your furniture, eat your shoes or swipe your dinner when you turn your back. He will not shove his way onto the couch without being invited, and will not bark at you until you give in and give him what he wants.
Training a dog isn’t something that happens overnight. It must be done patiently and consistently throughout the dog’s life. The best place to start is with obedience classes. Having the help of a professional when you are first starting is very valuable. Once the dog has learned to obey, and responds to basic commands, you can continue the training at home.
Help your dog be a good canine citizen by applying proper training throughout his entire life. You’ll both be happier and safer as a result.