Category: Dog Tips

Benefits of having a trained dog

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.

Most important things to teach a puppy

It is rewarding to have a well-trained dog for a companion. Dog experts reiterate that it is more sensible and easier to train dogs when they are puppies, as they are very responsive at that age. Training older dogs requires teaching experience, a considerable time investment and a lot of patience. The skills, tricks, and behaviors that puppies learn will serve them well over the course of their lives. They will learn to fit well in a home and assimilate into society. Coupled with this, is the fact that the process of training a puppy will improve the understanding between you and your pet. You will learn its temperament, quirks and it will learn your mannerisms and preferences. This will empower you to deal with your dog confidently, in the different situations, you will face together later on. More importantly is the strong bond that will be fostered. The time invested in training will be translated to a lifetime of positive, rewarding interaction.

Training a puppy, in essence, teaches it to understand your language and opens the channel of communication. What are the most important things to teach a puppy? Some lessons occur without much ceremony through repetitive actions. These are:

  • Name: What you call your puppy repeatedly.
  • Feeding spot: Where its feeding and drinking dishes are located.
  • Sleeping area: Where its bed is placed.
  • Routine: Your puppy becomes aware of the habits of occupants in the home.

Other lessons will be taught more formally outside of play time. Following, are the basic minimum commands a puppy should learn. They form the basis of your dog’s vocabulary to learn further instructions or skills:

  • Sit: This command is the easiest to teach and learn as it calls for an action that a dog performs voluntarily throughout the day. Teaching your puppy this, simply equates the action with the word.
  • Stay: This command ensures that your dog will remain in its position no matter what you are doing or where you are going. It will prove useful in many daily experiences.
  • Okay/Yes: This command releases your dog to do whatever it wants or continue whatever it was doing.
  • No: This is an important lesson for both your dog and you. It informs your dog that whatever action it is performing is unwanted. It can prevent trouble and has the potential to save your dog’s life.
  • Whistle or come: This tells your dog to come to you, irrespective of where it was going or what it was doing.
  • Down: This tells the dog to crouch down on his belly and be alert. This pose is the foundation to learn many advanced tricks.

These fundamental commands should be reinforced ever so often to keep your puppy sharp. For your dog to interact well with other dogs or people, socialization skills should be taught. These skills ensure that your pet is not overwhelmed or unnecessarily frightened when exposed to different places, sights, sounds, and experiences that it will encounter often. These are:

  • Social skills: These will teach your dog to behave properly in the presence of strange people and other pets regardless of age and breed.
  • Handling: This will ensure that your dog understands that human touch can be necessary. Your dog will know to behave properly when handled by you or others. This training will come in handy with a dog-handler, during grooming and at a visit to the veterinarian, preventing the need for muzzling or sedation.
  • Walking on a leash/ follow the leader: Teaches your dog to walk beside you while attached to a loose leash. When dogs do well on walks, walking becomes a pleasurable activity that is sure to be repeated.

The following skills are useful for your dog living indoors, to possess. They encourage a serene atmosphere in a home environment.

  • Quiet/ Hush: This teaches your dog not to bark anymore once this command has been given and is useful in situations that can cause your dog to bark uncontrollably.
  • House training: This teaches the dog not to urinate or defecate in the house but to use an agreed upon demarcated area. Experts suggest getting your dog accustomed to different surfaces for this.
  • Gentleness: This teaches your dog to desist from playing roughly with others. It is especially useful in homes with babies and small children.
  • Crate training: This teaches the dog about confinement and that sometimes it will be separated from its owner. This is invaluable for air travel.
  • Home alone: This will prevent separation anxiety as your dog loves to spend time in your company.
  • House rules: This teaches your dog what is acceptable in the home and not. It includes teaching your dog what areas of the house are hazardous, e.g., the kitchen during food preparation and what actions are undesirable, e.g., chewing on furniture, eating table scraps, shredding toilet paper, etc.
  • Car rides: It is inevitable that your dog will be transported in a vehicle from time to time. Training a dog for car rides ensures that it is a pleasurable experience for all.

You can teach your dog many tricks, easy and advanced, that will enrich your relationship and open you up to a world of experiences. You can call upon your dog when it appears bored to perform these tricks to keep busy. You can also use these tricks to show your dog off. Some of these tricks are:

  • Roll over
  • Play dead
  • High-five and shake hands
  • Dancing
  • Fetch
  • Leap over sticks and jump through hoops
  • Bark on command
  • Crawl
  • Take a bow

Tricks aside, you can teach your dog to handle a few chores/responsibilities in the home. Examples of these are fetching the newspaper, bringing slippers, bringing its own leash, putting toys away and finding things. This contributes to a lovely, lively relationship between you and your dog. A well-trained dog is a loved and contented dog.