Why train your dog? Dogs nowadays are ‘couch potatoes’—they rarely are used for that which they were bred. They need mental and physical stimulation to keep them active and healthy.
PUPPIES If you are just starting out with a new puppy, then training is a must! You have a small window to accomplish important socialization-both with people and other dogs, as well as bite inhibition and resource guarding prevention. Getting started on the right ‘paw’ is so much easier than ‘un’training bad habits later.
ADOLESCENTS/ADULTS If your dog needs to learn some ‘manners’ to help him be a welcome member of the family, then a basic obedience class would be perfect. If your dog needs a fun activity for both mental and physical stimulation, then an agility or k9 Nose Works (Nosey Dogs) class would be a good choice. I swear by the old adage: “a tired dog is a good dog”. Our dogs need exercise as much as we do. Reward-based training is exercise for their mind and can be good for their ‘soul’.
SHY DOGS Training can help increase confidence and decrease anxiety levels, thereby decreasing behaviors such as barking. Fearful dogs are most often the ones that are termed ‘aggressive’-they growl/snap/bite because they perceive the world and the beings in it (either two or four legged) to be a threat to them. They are always on the defensive and that is neither a fun nor a healthy place for them to be.
Training can lead to happier and healthier dogs! Training can also protect your pets and the people they encounter-either from a strong recall so your pet doesn’t run across a busy street or early socialization so they don’t fear the dogs and people they meet.
Using reward-based training methods can accomplish these goals and more. Teach what you want the dog to do, and the dog will learn to do it! Seems easy and it really can be! Reward based training is something the entire family can do-at pretty much any age. No need to be constantly correcting your dog-you can teach your dog the behaviors that will get him what he wants-your attention, that glorious ball thrown, some tasty goodies. Rewards come in all shapes and sizes, so don’t limit yourself to just using treats-the world is full of things your dog wants! You just need to learn how to use them to your advantage in teaching your pet!