Anyone who has the pleasure of owning a dog knows that they have some very human-like tendencies. Dogs, just like anyone in the family, like to feel they are actively involved and engaged.
This may trace back to the ancient pack behavior of the wolves that were ancestors of all domestic dogs from Great Danes to Maltese and every breed and mix in between. In the wild, wolves had to solve problems, work together and take on a role in the pack. This is a natural instinct that your dog will also have today.
In addition to the need to be physically active, dogs also have a need to be mentally active. Some breeds need more mental stimulation than others, and this also varies with the individual dog. These dogs will easily become bored, with boredom resulting in problem behaviors such as chewing, barking or any number of destructive behaviors.
The Value in Training
Training is one of the few ways that dog owners can engage the pack need, the exercise need and the mental stimulation needs for their dog or dogs. Training involves bonding as well, which is something that is great for both the dog and the owner.
Training, particularly once the dog has the basics of sit, come, stay and down can take off in many different directions. You can teach tricks, teach your dog to do a job or maybe even move into competitive types of events.
Think of training as a way to open up new opportunities for your pet. As you work with the dog you will be providing socialization, you will become more confident in the dog’s behavior, and this will lead to the dog being integrated into more activities and events.
Brush Up on the Basics
Sometimes dog owners get more than a bit lazy in spending time with their dog. They may not engage in regular training exercises and the dog may start to simply ignore commands.
By setting aside 10-20 minutes a day you can go through the training basics all over again. Remember, only use positive rewards, never punishment, and use a lot of praise and attention for a job well done.
Another great way to brush up on the basics and to move into more advanced training is to take a dog obedience training class. This is different from a puppy class and works on where your dog is now to start building on current mastery of commands. It is also a great way to brush up as an owner and get rid of those bad habits that have developed.
Some dog owners will look to specialized training. This may include agility training, competitive obedience, Flyball, Frisbee or even Doggy Dancing. The sky is really the limit, just find out what is in your community and get started, you will be amazed at the benefits to your pet and your relationship with your four-legged companion.