Since dogs were domesticated thousands of years ago, they have become an integral part of today’s society. The dog-human relationship has been described as friendship, companionship and even familial. A well-trained dog is better positioned to contribute positively to this relationship; it has been given the tools to succeed.
The pet dog looks to its human companion for direction, guidance, its needs to be met and a purpose in life. Studies have shown that an untrained dog suffers anxiety, depression and other behavioral issues that stem from the fact that it is incapable of fulfilling the role required in the relationship. Who benefits from having a trained dog? The answer is everyone.
A trained dog is taught to communicate with humans. Imagine two people who don’t speak the same language. Now put them together to live in the same household and force them to do things together. It will not be surprising the tensions and misunderstandings that will arise from such an arrangement. This is the challenge faced by untrained dogs living with their companions. A trained dog has been prepared for the variety of circumstances it will experience in life. As a result, it is content, relaxed, not overwhelmed with life and finds great delight in pleasing its companion.
A trained dog has been taught how to interact with other humans, other dogs regardless of breed and will know how to cope when confronted with new ideas or things. Since dogs are sociable animals, a trained dog provides you with many opportunities to socialize with other pet owners during the necessary walks that will be performed together. A trained dog gives you the confidence and satisfaction to look forward to repeating this important activity over and over. Friendships have been realized between people of like minds just by the simple activity of taking one’s dog for a walk. On a larger scale, an association of many owners of properly trained dogs can serve to foster communal spirit.
A trained dog can fit better into society. Such a dog is naturally welcomed, appreciated and receives more positive feedback and reinforcement from friends, family and even passers-by. This creates a continuous cycle of positivity when dogs are discussed by such people. The reverse is the case with an untrained dog. Each incidence in which the dog has been a nuisance causes friends to avoid contact, neighbors to complain and non-dog companions to turn up their noses. This has the effect of raising anti-dog sentiments, as the conversations such individuals will have about dogs may be largely negative. This has the unfortunate outcome of increased dog restrictions, backed by law to buildings, businesses and institutions. Also, a trained dog will get used to a pet containment system much faster.
A dog spends a large chunk of its waking moments with you; it lives with you, sleeps in your home and depends on you for food (not so much if you own one of best automatic dog food dispensers). This is the very definition of family: Most people would prefer a trained dog that will not negatively impact everyday life activities, like sleeping, visits from friends, the phone ringing, and so on. This contributes to a stable home life. The trained dog can participate in many family activities like going on hikes, attending games and can accompany you to many dog-friendly places such as public parks, beaches and camps, thus, adding to the joy as a family member. Shared activities inspire mutual love and trust that last a lifetime. More so, outings that are necessary for the dog’s own sake are less stressful, such as visits to dog groomers and the veterinary.
Having an untrained dog, on the other hand, is like throwing a weighted ball randomly around, a hazard in every direction. This invites negative stress to the family which impacts the health and well-being of everyone concerned. Furthermore, an untrained dog requires an inordinate amount of supervision; some owners find themselves rearranging their lives to fit around their dogs’ bad behaviors. There is a financial implication to this. Such owners may feel the need to buy sometimes expensive gadgets to control their dogs, may have to replace damaged objects and are at risk of being sued. Sadly, records show that many shelters are full because of owners’ inability to get along with untrained dogs, leading to their abandonment. There is also a lesser likelihood that an untrained dog will be adopted from the shelter into a new family than a trained one.
The training a dog receives can save its life. It knows not to eat everything it sees, thereby avoiding harmful or poisonous substances. In an emergency situation, it knows to obey your voice command leading it away from danger.
A well-trained dog can reach its full potential and can sometimes exceed expectations. It can be taught new and advanced tricks in order to participate in activities that will be rewarding to it, to you and others. These activities may be as serious as therapy work, tracking, search and rescue, or as fun as dancing and playing a piano. Learning these new skills increases the shared trust, understanding and respect, further enriching the relationship between you and your dog.
It has been reported in the news of how dogs have saved owners from home invasions, fire emergencies and desperate life situations. Dogs have also been reported to detect medical conditions that owners are unaware of, compelling them to undergo a medical check-up. As a matter of fact, many studies have shown that dog owners on average, are healthier than dog-free persons, as dogs provide a reason to participate in activities that boost the cardiovascular system.
Dogs are being used during therapy to fight depression, provide succor for the lonely, assist the blind and support epilepsy sufferers. Having a trained dog can save your life. An untrained dog will not know to be bothered.