The best argument for pet dog training is that it offers numerous benefits to the dog and the owner. It’s really no different than giving babies, children and students the guidance, discipline and education necessary to be well-behaved, functional members of society. When a pet is properly trained, it shows that the dog is an important part of the family and that good behavior is expected and rewarded positively.
First, it’s important to understand the two types of training: obedience training and behavioral modification. Obedience training teaches the dog verbal commands or hand signals that elicit a specific response such as down, sit and heel. Behavioral modification “modifies” unwanted behaviors from minor problems such as chewing, jumping or digging to more serious issues like aggressiveness, running away or excessive barking.
Training Saves Lives
The most important benefit of training for the dog is that it may save its life. The top reason for dogs to be abandoned or dropped at a shelter is behavioral problems that become too overwhelming for an owner.
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), the national statistics for companion animals entering shelters every year are approximately 5 to 7 million with approximately 3 to 4 million being euthanized.
If puppies receive early training and socialization, there’s a better chance they will not be euthanized before the age of three. Not to mention that if a well-trained dog does end up at a shelter or rescue, it will be adopted quicker than one that is not trained. Obedience training saves lives because dogs will respond to commands that may keep them from running into vehicle traffic or keep them safe in other emergency situations.
Leader of the Pack
The biggest benefit of training to owners is that it teaches the dog who is in charge. You are the leader and the dog recognizes and respects your authority. Canines are pack animals: They follow a leader and want to please the leader. Much like children without discipline, dogs without rules will create their own rules and push the boundaries of leadership.
“Within the pack, dogs crave leadership. Training not only fulfills the need for leadership, but also opens the door for structure, communication, and an overall happy, balanced life,” added Lori Busdeker, Diehl Mollica and Blake Kolb, the Holiday House Pet Resort training team.
A well-trained dog:
- Reduces family stress
- Reduces damage to your home and personal belongings
- Increases a sense of safety and security
- Creates a strong bond with the dog
- Reduces costs associated with owning a dog
- Improves overall quality of life in the home
From the Start
Training begins with the socializing. Hopefully the puppy has experienced early socialization under the proper care of its mother and breeder. As you welcome the puppy into your home, creating a strong family bond is the first step. Providing your puppy with loving attention, regular feedings, house training, leadership and new people to meet will prepare him to begin formal training between the age of 8 and 12 weeks. Once the puppy receives its vaccinations, then puppy preschool and other social activities can take place too. Not all family pets are adopted as puppies. Successful training is possible if you adopt a full-grown dog.
Reasons why owners seek training:
- Dogs with fear and aggression issues
- Backyard destruction
- Begging at the table
- Excessive barking
- Home manners and other unwanted behaviors like chewing
- Pulling on the leash
- House breaking
- Separation anxiety
“At Holiday House Pet Resort, we offer a full menu of training options. We start with a basic evaluation, garnering important information from the parents about their pet and its behaviors. Then we create a plan with a directed course of action. We are not here to make the decision on what behaviors are acceptable in your family. We are here to support the parents in giving the pet—and the entire family—an overall better quality of life,” said Fran Kealey, who works with clients on training evaluations.
From the Dog’s Perspective
Why is the dog behaving badly or out-of-control? Look at it from the dog’s point of view. Before a behavior can be changed, it should be understood. If the dog receives little or no attention unless its behavior elicits a reaction, then the dog will likely perform that behavior over and over to get attention it desires from the leader. The key, of course, is rewarding the good behaviors.
A pet training program that rewards the dog with positive reinforcement is the most effective and will build a strong bond between the owner and dog that fosters trust and cooperation.
Some owners are concerned that obedience training and behavior modification will change a dog’s personality. Nothing could be farther from the truth. What training does change—for the better—is the relationship between dog and owner.
“Proper training will not change a dog’s personality, but will create a positive transformation in its behaviors, energy level and attention span. Training can help a dog with high energy reach a calmer state, and one who might be scared and timid become confident and happy,” said the training team.
The ultimate benefit to the owner and the dog is happiness. A well-trained dog is a pleasure to have in the home and be around in public. Proper training builds a strong bond between the owner and the pet which is the foundation for a healthy, long-lasting relationship.