Many pet parents feel that training their dog is in some way mean or dominating while in fact, it can be a positive and bonding experience for both the pet parents and their dog. Obedience training is a way to provide your dog with the knowledge and skills he or she will need to be a coherent member of your family that can be included in a maximum amount of moments and events.
If you think about it, imagine a hyper dog that jumps and barks on people when they come into your home and has no ‘off’ button. What would you do? Probably put him in the garage, the yard or another room, where the dog would be left alone for several hours while you get to have fun and socialize. Now, what if that same dog was taught to sit or even lay down when company comes over and all the greetings are done? That same dog would most likely be allowed to stay among the guests for the remainder of the evening, enjoying the sociable experience right along with you.
Training can also be a fun and positive activity that you share with your dog. In order to teach a dog anything new, there must be an element of reward in the process. So, you ask your dog to do something, like “sit” and when the dog’s bottom touches the floor, you give him or her a treat, a pat and/or praise. This way the dog knows that what he or she did was what you asked for and the dog begins to associate you and the action with positive and pleasant experiences. This is very important as it builds a key ingredient in your relationship, which is trust.
Joining an obedience class in your community can also be a wonderful way to both train your dog and socialize him or her at the same time. Most classes start at the novice or pre-novice level teaching the basic skills of sit, come, down and stay. They also show you the tone and body language to use to make your dog listen to you, as well as, how to appropriately praise your dog when he or she achieves the desired action.
The most important thing about obedience is to make sure that it transfers to other parts of your and your dog’s life. For example, your dog might be sitting and staying in class, but appears to be deaf in your home or at the park. This is when you have to practice these commands in other places and during other situations, so that your dog understands that the commands are the same, and the exact same behavior is expected, regardless of where you are or what is going on around you.
Pet parents love taking their dogs with them and showing them off. Having a strong grasp on basic obedience training can benefit both the dog and their human, providing each with a little something to fall back on when it’s time to settle down or regain composure. If it makes it easier, think of obedience training like a dance that exists between human and dog, where each finds their place and balance, and the result is a coordinated effort of two beings that trust and understand each other in perfect synchronicity.