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The Importance of Obedience Training

Obedience training in dogs is an important part of having a well behaved and happy companion. It teaches your dog some basic instructions and skills. When a puppy or dog has obedience training they can be trusted more, plus it is a great base to build from for other types of training if that is the route you are going to take. Many problems some dog owners run into could have been prevented with obedience training. That is not to say it solves all behavioral issues, it does not, but it is a great foundation to make solving any issues a lot easier. Here we look more at why obedience training is a good idea and some tips on what that training should look like.

Why should your dog have Obedience Training?

As stated it is a basis for other training, so if you are looking to train your dog further in other fields, for shows, or work for example, obedience training makes for a strong foundation is even sometimes a precondition for those other elements. As a dog owner having a dog that obeys some commands makes your life as well theirs a lot easier. Through good training you are teaching him what is right and what is wrong. It is also a way of having communication between you, if you want him to stop jumping at visitors you can tell him to 'sit', or if you don't want him leaving through an open door you can tell him to 'stay'.

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Another good reason for obedience training is as a way to establish yours and their place in the social hierarchy. By obeying your command your dog is recognizing you as the pack leader and showing his respect for you. Extreme actions like the alpha rollover to establish that dominance are not necessary. Simple tricks or commands like shake hands or roll over are a way to put them in a subordinate role and show you their submission while also enjoying themselves.

Is there an age for obedience training?

Often people question whether obedience training is possible in puppies or older dogs. We have all heard the saying 'you can't teach an old dog new tricks'. However this is not the case, both young and senior dogs can be taught. It just needs commitment from you, consistency and patience. How dogs behave changes all the time, a well behaved dog may try to pick up bad habits a few years down the road. New problems develop and can be dealt with often with more training.

What should obedience training look like?

First of all it should be fun for your dog, as soon as it gets boring or frustrating they will stop wanting to do it and stop learning. It should also be rewarding for them – not just in terms of treats and praise but also in terms of added freedoms and an increase in confidence. A good way to get started is to enroll in a local class so you can get an idea of what basics you need to cover. Then you need to pick up those lessons and take them home to practice.

Start the training somewhere familiar in the home where there are less distractions. Keep the sessions short – long training sessions get boring and tiring for the both of you. Find a way to fit in several training sessions a day into your routine. You can sometimes take advantage of certain times for example if you are getting ready for work and you have been working on the command stay because your puppy has a tendency to follow you around, practice it now!

You want your dog to be able to acknowledge his name and then respond to your call when you want him with you. That is your most basic command to start with. Then you can add in other commands. The four basic obedience commands are 'come', 'sit', 'stay' and 'lie down'. You may also want to include 'heel', a useful command when out walking with him.

When you walk from your bedroom to the bathroom have your dog practice 'heel'. When you brush your teeth have him 'sit'. When you move from the bathroom to the kitchen have him 'lie down'. Progress on to other commands like have him fetch the ball in the yard while you make your coffee, or go get his leash while you finish breakfast. By incorporating the training in with activities he wants or likes to do he will feel like the training is just part of that fun.

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When you feel your dog has mastered some commands in that original setting it is time to make it harder. You can do so by making them wait longer, moving to an area where there are more distractions, taking them to the yard, practicing when company is over. Having a dog that just obeys you in the front room is not much use! You need to stretch his training so that he will obey you anywhere you are likely to be with him, the car, the park, jogging, at the cottage, along the road. If you want him to heel when you are walking round the block it will need training and practice. If you need him to lie down when you are driving in the car and trying to move over lanes, then practice in the car. Of course for the car you will practice first when the car is not moving otherwise this could be dangerous!

You can identify dogs who are well trained and those who are not a mile away. Well trained dogs are pleasant to be around for you and for anyone else who comes across their path. You can trust them to be better behaved, and you can have confidence that when you give a command they will instantly listen to you.

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