DOG TRAINING: WHY BOTHER?
Whether you purchased your dog as a puppy from a breeder, adopted from a shelter or took in a homeless dog off the streets, training is a fundamental part of any human-dog relationship. Dog training starts immediately so it’s crucial to have the right plan and ideology in place for your dog to thrive in your home and for you to have the best possible relationship you can have. Dog training does not only create an irreplaceable bond; it creates a higher quality of life for you AND your dog. Dogs bring immense joy to our lives, but having a dog that is friendly, balanced and responds to commands is icing on the cake! The benefits of dog training are limitless! Dig in with me to see some of the top benefits and how to enhance your dog’s life through training.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?
1 . Creating a Strong Bond
Having a dog that responds quickly to commands will make dog ownership more delightful for you which in turn will make your relationship stronger with your dog. Who doesn’t want to be around a well-behaved dog?? However, dog training isn’t just about having a dog “sit” or “down” like most people assume. Dog training is about communicating with your dog in everyday life and everyday situations. Everything you do is setting a foundation to how your dog will act towards you and interact in day to day life. With consistent and proper training, they learn to trust you, which is essential in any relationship. They learn you are their provider and they are safe with you. They learn you provide every resource that is important to them. When they learn what is expected of them and the boundaries are clear, their stress level is reduced, making their lives better and more enjoyable.
Dogs excel and thrive with concise structure. They learn in black and white. When we add a gray area to their lives (ex. You allow jumping on day, but scold them the next day for doing the same behavior) it creates confusion and frustration which can lead to behavior problems, fear, etc. Take the time to develop what your boundaries will be and stick with them. If we are always changing the rules, you will often see a dog that is “unruly”, “doesn’t listen”, “stubborn”, “spiteful”, etc. When we break it down and figure out the root of those common traits, we often find learned behaviors, a lack of training or inconsistent training. Dog training, whether it’s in an obedience class, a simple walk around your neighborhood or trip to the vet, is about becoming a team. It’s about learning what makes them tick and using that to motivate them to teach desired behaviors and stop unwanted behaviors. You will quickly start learning more about what their needs are and how they are trying to communicate with you. Set your dog up for success and teach them how to learn how to navigate through our human world by implementing training.
2. Having fun
Another part of dog training we can’t forget about? Having fun!! Training your dog should be a fun experience for everyone involved. It doesn’t have to be stressful or time consuming. Here’s a good example that I tell my clients often in reference to walking on a leash and the “heel” command. I would rather people spend 5-15 minutes training and working on the foundational behaviors for heel, then try to take their dog on a 30-minute walk while the pup is “pulling” the entire time. The more we reinforce certain behaviors, the more we will see them. The more we allow our dogs to pull, the more we will see pulling. A little bit of consistent, positive training daily goes a LONG way. Guess who else has a blast with this kind of training? Your dog!! Marking and rewarding the behaviors you want with a primary resource is a blast for the dog. Doing this simple step builds a solid reward history, which makes it more likely for the dog to do the behaviors you desire.
Having a dog that is well rounded and properly socialized means you will have more fun! You will be able to visit the dog friendly restaurant while your pooch lays nicely next to a table. You will be able to take him/her on family vacations and hike off leash because you have put in the work to train a solid recall. You will be able to walk easily around your neighborhood and pass other dogs without your dog pulling on the leash because you have learned how to properly socialize and teach nice leash skills. You will be able to have your dog at home gatherings because he/she has mastered the place command or has learned how to appropriately greet people and relax. Do these things happen within one lesson or overnight? Definitely not. Learning and good dog training takes time. Put in the work, but have fun doing it. Your dog will thank you!
A well-trained dog is safer to have around family, friends, and at outings because you know you can rely on them following direction and responding to your commands. Not only can you stand out in social settings, you can also help save your dog’s life in case of an emergency. It’s less likely your dog will bolt through the front door if you have worked on teaching her to sit and stay when the door opens (a big distraction I know!). Let’s say they do get out the front door and are headed towards the street. If you have built a solid recall command, you can call your dog back to safety. If we don’t train for these instances, we can’t ever expect them to reliably respond in a real-life situation. Training can save your dog’s life!
Dog training builds a sense of purpose for you and your dog so don’t wait to get started! The experience will open your eyes, enrich your life, and create the strongest relationship possible with your dog. You both will reap the benefits.
Rachelle Yates is a Certified Professional Dog trainer and owner of Highland Canine Training Dallas, Texas and specializes in Service dog training, behavior modification and obedience. Her headquarters is in North Carolina and she is their Texas trainer. Rachelle resides in downtown Mckinney with her husband, Josh, and their almost 3 year old daughter, Jayden. She is also mom to: Eli the Italian greyhound, Misha the catahoula mix, and Ginger the boxer/beagle/shepherd mix. When she isn’t training, she loves to spend time with family and friends, drink coffee, go to concerts, research and study holistic healthcare and wellness, travel, and cook. She has an avid love for the outdoors, all animals, sports and fitness, movies, essential oils, and is an adrenaline junkie!
For more information on dog training and programs, contact Rachelle Yates with Highland Canine Training Dallas, Texas at 214-535-7768 or Rbuckner@highlandcanine.com.