When dog training comes to mind, lots of people think about tricks or dog shows. Both behaviors are evidence of training, but training goes further than a show. If you keep your pet indoors, then you have already gone through one step of training: housetraining. Could you imagine having a dog live inside your home for ten plus years and never be housed trained? Everything would be a mess, and your nerves would be frayed. A well-trained dog means a less aggressive dog, a happier owner and a stronger pet-owner relationship.

Dogs are pack animals. If your pooch was out in the wild his entire life, then he would be part of a group of dogs. The group would fight for a leadership position and would have a leader that they respected and obeyed: the biggest, the strongest, the caretaker. You should be the leader of your dog. If he doesn’t understand early that you are the boss, then he will take on the leadership role himself. This can cause many problems in the future, including an overly aggressive dog. Through proper training, your dog will see you as his caretaker from the beginning of the relationship.

Good behavior is a product of good training. Naturally, you don’t want your pet destroying your house, so you train him not to. What about when you are outside the home? Maybe he doesn’t like to perform tricks for a group of people, but it is nice to be able to take him to a local dog park. Training will make your dog easier to handle; and, in turn, you will want to take him places and spend more time with him. If you want to be around your dog, because you can in fact handle him, then the two of you will strengthen your bond. You are happy (because you can allow him extra freedom) and he is happy (because he has less restrictions); and a happy dog is a healthy dog.

Training can be a preventative measure. Bored and restless dogs look for ways to amuse themselves. Often, this means developing a destructive behavior. Destructive behaviors can surface in many forms, including digging and chewing. The time you spend training your dog will not only teach him good behavior but it will also give him a way to exert his energy. Playing Frisbee or going for a run allows him to exercise and get the attention that he craves.

A well-trained dog is easier to handle. We’ve all witnessed it: an unruly dog barking at cats in the veterinarian’s office. If you have properly trained your dog, then you can take him to be examined (and groomed) without worries. It’s also good to know that you can take your dog to the vet or groomer without a muzzle! On the same note, you want your dog to behave when you invite company to your home. If he isn’t trained, then why would you expect him to act like he is in front of others? An untrained dog can put himself and others in danger. If he responds to voice commands, then he is less likely to, for instance, run out onto a busy street or tackle a playful child.

You can’t build a personal relationship without communication. For that reason, you and your dog need to be able to communicate with each other. He can’t tell you how he’s feeling or why he chewed your shoe; but, if he is trained, then you will be better able to understand and figure out his actions. Conversely, the same is true. Through training, your dog will be able to pick up on tones and pitch in your voice or oddities in your actions. He will know when he’s done something bad or good. Communication is key!

In general, a trained dog is more pleasant to be around. You can take him in public and to appointments without worry. Training is a way for the two of you to bond. You can exercise together and play together, creating a strong companionship. A well-trained dog will not resort to destructive behaviors; but, if he does, they can be more easily fixed. Training will also let the two of you communicate without words. A happy dog makes a healthy dog and a happy owner!

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