Make a New Year’s Resolution to Train Your Dog

It is almost the new year, which means it’s time for people across the globe to make their new year’s resolutions.  If you have a new dog in your household or just think your dog could behave better, make it your resolution to get your pup trained.  Not only will he or she behave better, but you will also be happier!  If you need more justification than that read the 5 reasons in the article below.

5 Reasons Why You Need to Train Your Dog, and 7 Training Problems to Overcome

I’ve talked often about the importance of various types of training for your dog, and even went into a fair bit of detail in Dog Training Made Easy. It still surprises me, though, how many dogs lack even basic obedience training. No training at all makes for a very poor canine citizen, and poor training can be just as bad.

Often, when it comes to training, we push it aside, thinking we’ll get to it later. After all, we have busy lives. But you didn’t get a dog with the intention of not making time for him, did you? However, if you absolutely cannot find the time for training, then you owe it to yourself, your dog, and anyone who comes into contact with your dog to at least hand the job over to someone else. This could be a friend, relative, or even a professional trainer.

Finding the Right Trainer

When choosing a trainer, keep in mind that this is not a regulated profession. Virtually anyone can set themselves up as a trainer, so you’ll want to make sure you get the right person. Sadly, there are still trainers out there who think that the best way to get a dog to behave is through punishing undesirable behaviors. They use fear as a tool and focus far too much on the concept that they need to be the alpha in the relationship. Of course it’s important to be at the top of your dog pack hierarchy, but this does not mean dominating in a heavy-handed or cruel fashion.

So, ask around. Word quickly gets out regarding trainers who are too heavy-handed. You’re far better off with a trainer who motivates dogs using kindness and rewards. A well-trained dog is a happier dog, too, so if you’re not able to handle the job yourself, find someone who will get it done for you. You’ll reap the rewards in terms of a stress-free household and a dog that is a pleasure to have as a companion.

Reasons to Train

Often, dogs end up in shelters because of behavioral issues that are very preventable. Taking the time to teach your dog proper behaviors is essential, and not all that difficult. So, with that in mind, here are five very good reasons why you should make training a priority.

1. It Makes for a Better Relationship

When you use balanced training methods as opposed to punitive, you and your dog will develop a healthy relationship. You want to make the learning process clear, easy and rewarding. Don’t focus too much on being the boss. You want your dog to respect you, and you won’t get that if you use fear and intimidation. In fact, it could even be dangerous. Instead, mark clearly, use rewards (toys & treats) and verbal and physical affection as reinforcers. Dogs who learn this way are more self-controlled, and their behavior is considerably more predictable in stressful situations.

2. Your Dog Will Develop Good Life Skills

It probably seems to you that your dog has a pretty sweet life, but living with humans is not without its challenges. Training helps to ease stress, and reduces the likelihood of inappropriate behavior like excessive barking, chewing, and aggression. You want to make it easy for your dog to succeed, so observe how he reacts to certain situations. Is he overly friendly, jumping on visitors? Teach him more appropriate ways of greeting guests. Is he nervous around new people? Give him his own space, perhaps in another room or behind a baby gate until he becomes more confident. It’s far better to adjust your environment than it is to have an overly excitable or stressed-out dog.

3. It Improves Socialization

It is important to begin socializing your dog at a young age. Unless you want an aggressive dog to protect you and your property (which is something I advise against), you should expose him to as many people as possible, and to other animals as well. Don’t force the dog into any interaction that makes him uncomfortable, though. Again, watch how he handles different situations, and respect his limits. The effects of a bad socialization experience can be lasting, so it’s better to back off and try again than to stress the dog and possibly create problems that can last into adulthood.

4. It Prevents Problem Behaviors

When you work on training your dog, you are setting up a system of communication that will help him to be safe and comfortable in the human world. A dog that is taught to sit, for instance, will be less likely to run into traffic, and also less likely to jump on visitors who may not respond favorably. A dog that is taught the “leave it or off” command will be less likely to ingest things that could harm him. Learning how to shake hands can be a valuable lesson when it comes to accepting the touch of other people.

5. Your Dog Will Be a Better Companion

The goal with any training program is good behavior, and good behavior should always be rewarded. This doesn’t mean that you have to be stuffing your dog full of treats every time he gets it right. A snuggle and a kind word are rewards, too.

Also, rewarding good behavior does not mean never acknowledging bad behavior. However, no dog ever learns when hit or shouted at. It’s to be expected that from time to time you will have to discipline your dog, but this could take the form of a firm “No” or a time out. Heavy-handed discipline will simply stress your dog, and could even result in aggressive behavior. If that happens, then you will have started something you absolutely have to finish – you’ll need to make the dog submit. Best not to go there in the first place if you can avoid it.

Essentially, what you want to do is guide your dog through the process of learning how to make good choices. This will make for a strong, healthy bond between you and your dog, and you will have a truly loyal and obedient companion.

So, make the time to teach your dog. He will have a more fulfilling life if he understands good manners and is properly socialized. Failing to train is a disservice to your dog, and can lead to serious problems later on. The process doesn’t have to be intense or difficult. In fact, the more fun it is for you and your dog, the more satisfactory the results will be.

Portions of of this article come from the source: Simply For Dogs

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