Some dog owners are great natural dog trainers. Other dog owners rely on professional obedience training.
But why should dogs have obedience training? Is it necessary and what are the benefits?
As a rule, start training your dog as a puppy. VCA Hospitals advises, “You do not necessarily need to train in a set session daily. Rather, integrate these tasks throughout the day. A goal to strive for is at least 15 minutes of training every day. These can be short 5-minute sessions spread throughout the day. Try to have all family members ask your puppy to do these tasks. Remember to try to train in every room of your house. You want your puppy to ‘sit,’ ‘lie down,’ and ‘stay’ everywhere, not just in the training location.”
Although we won’t discuss the actual training tips, the VCA’s advice does a great job at showing that you can do obedience training at home and from a very young age – as young as seven to eight weeks old. And the dog ages to their juvenile years, things become a bit more difficult.
Obedience Training Helps You Understand Your Dog
Your dog can’t speak, but they do a lot of communicating. The journey you travel with your dog through obedience training is paved with good habits! These habits are lifelong. As your dog learns commands, you learn how your dog communicates. And they learn about both your spoken and unspoken cues.
Create a Stronger Bond with Your Pet
As the giver of rewards, by training your dog, you create a special bond that can’t be duplicated by anything other than obedience training. Your guidance will bring them close to you, and through the time you spend training, you’ll each learn about each other’s’ body language.
Over time, you’ll each encounter new situations and challenges that will require commands. Give your dog what they need, when they need it to make them feel secure. Obedience training does precisely that. The result? A happier relationship between you and your dog.
Obedience Training Leads to Better Safety
Even the best dogs may run off if they become afraid. If you can call a dog to return to you successfully, you’ve lowered their risk of an accident. Commands like “wait” and “stop” may be used in many situations. Here are some basic commands that dramatically increase your dog’s safety:
- Leave It
- Drop It
Socialization is Easier with Obedience Training
According to the AKC, “A good training class will do more than just teach you how to train your dog. These days, there is a lot more information available about dog behavior, socialization, and dog body language, and an effective trainer will discuss these topics in class along with the training topics at hand.”
Reading your dog’s body language makes socializing with other dogs much easier. Your dog will be much more confident and able to deal with the pressures that come with meeting new people and animals. You’ll also notice when your dog is uncomfortable and needs to be removed from a situation before it becomes an issue.
As a result of obedience training, your pup will have wonderful manners! That improves their quality of life and yours.
It’s Never Too Late to Start Obedience Training
While starting training young is the best way to ensure your dog follows the rules, it’s not true that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Even old dogs can learn basic commands with positive reinforcement.
Of course, it’s important to set reasonable expectations. Older dogs may have a harder time with behaviors due to less stamina, strength, or motivation. For instance, doing agility training with an older dog who has never even taken an obedience class before is probably going to struggle.
If you want to engage and teach your older dog basic skills, make sure their diet supports brain health, that your rewards are high-value (like a favorite treat), and be patient.