By Tim Falk
Published: 02/11/2022, edited: 02/11/2022
Training your dog is one of those things every pet parent knows they should do. Unfortunately, it can be hard to know how to start training your pet, especially if this is your first dog.
But dog training is crucial for so many reasons, and not just because it teaches your dog to mind their manners. Training also provides great mental stimulation for your pet, keeps them safe when you’re out and about, and helps you and your dog forge a lifelong bond.
Best of all, your pup isn’t the only one who will reap the benefits of regular training — you will too! With this in mind, let’s take a look at 10 compelling reasons why you should train your dog.
At its most basic level, training is about showing our pups how to behave.
Of course, the right way to behave is not something dogs automatically know. In fact, many of the behaviors we hoomans want — not barking at the drop of a hat and not digging up the yard, to name just a couple — must seem very unusual indeed to our fur-babies. So behaviors that seem wrong to us can seem very, very right to our dogs.
And that’s where training comes in. Training your dog is essential for teaching them exactly what they should and shouldn’t do. It teaches them to play nice with other dogs and people, steer clear of destructive behavior, and be a polite member of the family at all times.
In other words, it teaches them the important life skills they need to be a part of society.
Dog training is about so much more than learning good manners; it’s also crucial for your dog’s safety.
Imagine for a moment that you’re at your local dog park when someone leaves the gate open and your pup escapes. Your fur-baby immediately starts following their nose in the direction of the delicious smells of a cafe just 50 yards away, but there’s one very big problem: in between your pup and the cafe lies a busy road.
Without training, your desperate calls for your dog to come back fall on deaf ears. But if you’ve trained your dog to come when called, you can rely on them to stop and return to your side.
Dog training ensures that when you and your pup are faced with a dangerous situation, you can keep them safe.
From your pup’s perspective, the world can be a confusing, intimidating, and sometimes downright scary place. Around every corner lies new experiences, unusual sights and sounds, and situations that must seem impossible to predict. And all the while, there are crazy humans expecting them to sit here, stay there, and not to touch that.
But teaching your dog how you want them to behave will mean that when they’re faced with something new or unexpected, they won’t respond with anxiety or fear. Instead, they’ll respond with cool-headed confidence.
If men are from Mars and women are from Venus, dogs can sometimes seem like they’re from a whole other solar system altogether. Especially if you’re a first-time pet parent, there’s a steep learning curve to navigate while you work out how your dog thinks.
But when you make training part of your regular routine, you’ll soon start to pick up on the secret formula you need to unlock your dog’s full potential. You’ll become a master at watching their body language cues, know how to motivate them to try something new, and learn which reward they value more than any other. Before you even realize it, you’ll know your dog better than they know themselves.
When you know your dog inside out, and when you spend time training them every day, the two of you will develop an unbreakable bond.
Dogs aren’t meant to just be left in a backyard alone all day long. They need regular interaction with their people for their health and happiness, and training is the “pawfect” way for you and your pup to bond with one another.
Your pup will relish the chance to do a job, to please you, and to spend a whole lot of quality time by your side.
Another “woofderful” benefit of training your dog is that it provides a mental challenge for your fur-baby. Regular mental stimulation is crucial for your dog’s health and wellbeing. It prevents boredom and the destructive behavior that often occurs as a result, and dogs usually love having a job to do.
So training won’t just boost their confidence and problem-solving skills, but it’ll also make your dog happier too.
Getting along with other dogs and people is an important life skill for every dog. Whether you’re out for a walk, at the park, or having guests over for dinner, your pup needs to know how to interact in a variety of social situations.
For example, you can work on teaching your dog to play nice with other dogs, accept strangers, and greet visitors calmly. Socializing your dog also exposes them to a variety of new situations and settings, reducing anxiety when they encounter new experiences.
We mentioned above how training can stop your dog from getting into dangerous situations. But it’s also important to keep your family safe and protect your belongings.
For example, your dog jumping on your kids or senior members of the family could not only be traumatic but also lead to serious injury. So by training your dog not to jump, you’ll be doing your whole family a favor.
And if your pup thinks it’s OK to turn your couch into a pre-dinner snack, or dig up your flower bed, training offers a simple solution.
If you’re the pet parent of a fearful or anxious dog, taking them out of their normal daily routine can be a stressful experience. But it’s still something you have to do.
Your pooch will need to visit the vet at least once a year. They may need to stay at a boarding kennel or at a pet sitter’s house when you go out of town. And some dogs require frequent trips to a professional groomer. This will, of course, require them to be handled, sometimes in sensitive or uncomfortable areas, by people they don’t know very well.
The good news is that these are all situations when training comes to the fore. You can use your training sessions to acclimate your dog to car rides and new places, teach them how to have their nails clipped and paws touched, and generally build their confidence for dealing with unexpected situations. All of this will stand you and your pup in good stead for the rest of their life.
Finally, it’s worth remembering that training your dog should never be a chore. It’s an important responsibility, sure, and you may need a steady supply of patience along the way, but it’s also incredibly rewarding watching your dog learn and grow.
Even better, training is a whole lot of fun. After all, what could possibly be more enjoyable than some quality 1-on-1 time with your fur baby?
Unsure about the best way to train your dog? These tips and tools could help:
Got a specific behavior problem you want to tackle? Check out our extensive database of training guides.
Choosing a professional trainer? These are the 5 key characteristics to look for in dog trainers.
Are you the proud pet parent of a senior dog? If so, don’t believe the cliche that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Check out our guide to obedience training an older dog as well as whether it’s ever too late to train your dog.
Want to train your pet humanely? Take a look at the ASPCA’s position statement on training aids and methods.
Need some help teaching your dog some obedience basics? Does your Greyhound need guidance on how to greet people politely? Whatever your training tribulations, request a session with an in-home dog trainer with Wag! today. With personalized sessions with a 5-star dog trainer, your pup will be a model of perfect behavior in no time.
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