Top 5 Reasons to Train Your Dog

Behavior and Training  •   Pam Karkow  •   Jan 07, 2016

January is National Train Your Dog Month.  So, in honor of all those well-mannered furry children out there (or the rowdy ones who need taming), I have compiled a list of reasons you should train your dog.  Here are some things training can do for you and your pet...

  1. Ensure Safety First--When our dog was a puppy, we trained her to wait for a simple command, “OK,” before she took a treat from our hand, or began eating her meal.  Now our two-year old can give her a treat without us worrying about her nipping his fingers.  She waits for the command, then gently takes the treat from his hand.

  2. Strengthen Relationships--When you use positive reinforcement with your dog, you are building trust with him/her.  It may sound simple to train your dog to wait for a command before taking food, but to train him/her to listen for the command in every setting requires a solid relationship between you and your pooch.  Summer will not take food from anyone unless she hears the command, “OK,” and when she is offered food without the command, she looks to me for reassurance.

  3. Improve Communication--There are simple commands you can use throughout your day that only take a few minutes here and there and can encourage communication between you and your dog.  Before your dog goes outside or is let out of his/her crate, ask him to sit.  As mentioned before, use the command “OK,” or “release” before giving food or treats.  “Leave it” is a helpful command to use when walking outside so you can ensure a quick, energizing walk instead of ending up pulling on his/her leash the entire time.

  4. Encourage Natural Rewards--Teaching your dog commands that you can use throughout your normal routine will allow you to reward wanted behaviors positively. When your dog is asked to sit before being let outside, the natural consequence, being let outside, follows and you don’t have to ruin his diet by rewarding with treats.  

  5. Keep you on a Routine--Dogs thrive on routine.  When they know what’s coming next, they can be better behaved.  Try to feed, exercise, and play with your dog the same time every day.  When it gets to be “lunchtime” for our dog, she begins pacing around her doggy diner, anticipating her next meal.  She has come to expect it around the same time each day.  After dinner, she knows the leash will come out and we’ll take a quick walk around the block.  Building in playtime each day is important too, especially during the winter months when it is hard to get outside because of the cold.  Tossing a soft ball down the hall for a quick session of fetch can ensure your dog gets his blood flowing and heart rate up for a little while.

So whether your dog is an obedience school drop out or the teacher’s pet of the class, it is important to follow through with some basic training at home.  Training your dog ensures he knows what is expected of him.  Our pets cannot do what we ask of them if they do not know what we want.  So, have realistic expectations, be consistent, and reinforce the right behaviors, and you will ensure a happy, healthy relationship with your pet.

 

 

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Pam Karkow

About the Author
Pam Karkow

Hi, I'm Pam. List maker, note taker, and avid reader. I'm married to my college sweetheart and we have three amazing kids, all of them boys. We also have one furry child, a golden retriever rescue dog. I have been blogging for PetPartners since 2015, and I love researching and writing tips about how to be a better pet parent. I spend most of my time sharing my adventures at lavenderandlaugh.com, where I share the ways I am learning to be a better wife and mom--to my two and four-legged children.