People often ask why I am still obedience training my 4 dogs—after all, they have been trained for many years ever since I took them in. My answer is simply that I enjoy having well behaved dogs around me. If I couldn’t rely on them being under control, friendly and outgoing towards everybody, their daily lives would be much more restricted and boring. They wouldn’t go places with me, if it’s going to the beach or simply walking downtown along a busy street full of pedestrians. They love when people come over and pet them, and of course I grow an inch taller when strangers tell me how beautiful and well mannered they are. Don’t get me wrong, they’re not perfect and sometimes I have to strictly reinforce some behaviors. However, they all know who is the “pack leader”. At least once every year they take a “refresher” class in obedience training. I want them to socialize with other dogs and keep up the good work during training sessions. Obedience training not only made their life more enjoyable, it also helped me to learn how to communicate with my dogs. If I take them to a friend’s house or the veterinarian, I know how they react to certain situations and I know how to control them.
When it comes to shelter or rescue dogs, there is nothing more rewarding than to help turn a frightened, insecure animal into an outgoing, friendly and confident pet. Or turn an extremely rambunctious and out-of-control animal into an easy-to-manage, obedient dog. I benefit by seeing a happy-end when this dog finally gets a second chance in a new home, and, more importantly, the dog greatly improves his chances finding a home when he or she is well behaved and easy to handle. After all, who likes having a wild puppy tear up your yard, chew on your furniture, jump on people, ignore your voice when being called? Most people quickly become frustrated and either return the dog or take the easy way out and tie up the dog in the yard. What a sad life for a dog, being isolated and not allowed into the house with his family, being lonely and bored.
I truly believe in at least the basic obedience training for every dog, no matter what breed, size or age. Any dog can be trained, some will take more time and effort than others, but every dog can learn what is acceptable and what behavior will not be tolerated. I wish every potential dog owner would think about the time and effort that is involved to create the happy pet that they would love to have around. Simply ignoring bad behavior will create bigger problems down the road and can create serious consequences for the owner.
Please take the time to learn about dog behavior and basic training – both you and your dog will appreciate the good relationship and bonding that training can create. Consider training sessions as quality time spent with your pet!