Five benefits of training your dog

Dog training provides numerous benefits to both the dog and the owner. If you own a dog, you naturally understand his basic needs for food, water, and medical care. Nowadays, training is widely accepted as another need for dogs that is almost as important as their other needs.

dog obedience training
Dog training improves communication between the dog and the owner. Photo by State Farm, cc

After all, if you train your dog, your dog is obedient, he comes on command, sits on command, and waits for master’s command, which the dog obeys without a glitch.

If this is how you see dog training, you might be surprised to learn that there is more to it. Here is a list of the most common benefits of training your dog.

  • You get to learn. There’s a common misconception that your dog school trains dogs.  Though a dog does learn a lot, dog owners learn as much as their dogs. As a dog owner, you learn how to communicate with your dog, how to read his intentions and behavior patterns; you understand how to transmit your messages to your dog and get a response back. You learn all the basic concepts of dog training and the benefits it provides. After that, you can then take the training further on your own, if you desire, or train other dogs by yourself. Still, even if you train your third or fourth dog, there are reasons to attend a dog school with him.
  • Your dog learns social skills. Sounds fancy, but in practice social skills allow your dog to behave properly in certain situations. Your dog gets used to other people and other dogs, which is crucial for the development of young dogs. Group classes also ensure that your pet won’t bark at a passerby, won’t panic and pull on a leash upon seeing a squirrel, or jump on your guests. Well-trained dogs can be taken almost anywhere, such as a family trip, garden party, jogging class or opera house—you choose.
  • You have more control and safety. Training your dog to sit or to come when called isn’t just a trick for amusement. It provides you with a tool to control your dog’s actions. The ability to call your dog back ensures that he won’t run away and into trouble. He won’t chase people in the park, and if he does, you will be able to call him back. Also, giving your dog something to do ensures that your dog isn’t doing something inappropriate instead.
    woman training her dog in a meadowFor example, if your dog barks at a mailman, command him to sit (the dog, not the mailman) and, if he keeps quiet (the dog, again), you can praise him to reinforce the good behavior. As you progress and teach your dog more things, you develop a strong repertoire of tools to use, which improves your overall communication.
  • Your dog has fewer obedience problems. There is a logic behind this. Trained dogs communicate with their owners better, which makes it is easier to set boundaries for what is and isn’t allowed. More importantly, regular training sessions are physically and psychologically demanding—in a good way—which means that dogs receive constant stimulation and attention. A lack of attention often causes behavior problems in dogs.
  • You and your dog are active. Dogs are active animals, and in the wild, they would track and hunt their food for hours. Of course, you don’t want your dog to indulge in rabbit chasing, especially if the rabbits are imaginary but appear to “live” under your lawn. Regular activity, such as training, gives your dog enough real things to do, so he does not need to “invent” other activities by himself. Of course, training is only one of your options—you can also take your dog for a walk or throw and retrieve a ball—but training is the one activity that exercises your dog’s brain the most. And, as a side effect, you get active, too.

The ultimate benefit of dog training is happiness. For whom? For both of you. Owners get a well-behaved dog that responds to their commands and can be taken almost anywhere without concern.

In return, dogs also have happiness; they get to meet other dogs, receive their owners’ attention, and have something to do.

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