What are the benefits of dog training beyond the obvious?
RELATIONSHIP: Beyond the obvious benefits of having a well mannered dog is the enhanced relationship that you will develop with your canine best friend! I have taken and still do take many obedience one classes with the puppies that I keep for myself. So many in fact that I could teach the class at this point. I vary the teachers and schools to learn different styles and tricks. One of my all time favorite trainers and person that I have learned the most from about dog behavior is Ruth Chase from the Coventry school for Dogs and Their People located in Columbia, MD. Ruth knows dogs!
If I could teach the class, why then do I continue to take my pups to basic obedience classes? Two reasons:
Socialization: I have found that taking a puppy to class provides a unique type of socialization and enough serious distractions that I just can’t get the same quality of anywhere else.
Relationship: Most dogs love training… it is great fun for them to be singled out, taken for a car ride and to go to a class with other dogs where they get 100% of your attention focused on them in such a positive and fun way! Wow…it’s just like developing a close relationship with your kids! Play with them and they will follow you anywhere! I found this to be true when my kids were little…If I spent 30 min in the morning just playing on their level then I had a lot more cooperation during the rest of the day because we did a little bit of ‘relationship building’ in the morning. Now that my kids are all teenagers, I find it to still hold true. Identify with them on their level and have a few belly laughs on regular basis and boy does it help in the area of ‘respect’ when the inevitable bump comes along! Hmmm…having said that, I must confess that dogs are more predictable and much easier to train than kids…my kids are all suffering from that mental disorder called puberty so I should probably save the child rearing advice for a time when I don’t have any teenagers left in the house to make my advice look ridicules! Several years ago, my daughter informed me, after a parenting fiasco, that our family puts the ‘fun’ in dysfunctional! Grrreat…
Several years ago, i took a class with one of my dogs, at Dog Ears and Paws in Sykesville, MD, titled Refining your relationship. I really had no clue what the class was about. Really all we did was teach our dogs new ‘tricks’. It was a rather spontaneous class as the trainer would find tricks that none of the dog already knew. I found that this class really did refine my relationship with my dog! Any class will as long as you make it fun, rewarding and inviting for your dog. Over the years I have discovered that having a dog with great recall (coming when called regardless distractions) is more dependent on the relationship that you have with your dog then it is with actual training. Although basic know how to train your dog to come is paramount in the beginning, it is your on-going relationship that will keep him coming back to your every beckoning call….just like it is with our kids!