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Training is more than sit! stay! roll over!

Sit! Stay! Jump! Roll over! Down!……

Gone are the days when this is what a “trained” dog was expected to do. Dog lovers these days understand that training is not just about following basic commands. It is about making them well-socialised and healthy; both mentally and physically. Which is why, behaviour training has gained so much importance in recent years. Whether you self-train or employ someone, here is why you should train your beloved canine.

To help them adapt to a “home” environment

Dogs are a completely different species from human beings. We should thus realise that they will also behave and communicate in a different manner. Certain behaviour patterns that are instinctive to them, such as digging, are thought of as “problem” behaviour by us. When we bring a new puppy or an adult dog into our homes, we cannot expect them to know right from wrong immediately. The right training methods implemented here can help us understand why dogs behave the way they do. The right methods will also help us adjust our expectations so that humans and canines can learn to co-exist happily.

To understand basic commands

“Stop” and “Drop it” and “Stay” need to be taught as early as possible. The importance of following basic commands cannot be stressed on enough as they can one day prevent serious injury or harm to your pet or others. The instinctive nature of dogs compels them to act in a certain manner. But what if there is a situation where they are chasing a snake in the garden or if they run off into oncoming traffic? It is in these cases that the following of basic commands becomes of dire importance. It could literally save your dog’s life one day.

To make them well-socialised

We all want our dogs to be well adjusted and friendly with everyone. But every dog is different and comes with his or her unique personality and quirks. It is thus, up to us to help them cope with different situations and people to the best of their capabilities. Starting their training at a younger age also decreases occurrences of anxiety and discomfort they might face when exposed to new stimuli. There might be situations when your dog may not warm up to another, human or canine. Understanding why you shouldn’t force any situation on your dog and how your dog copes with these situations will also come with proper training.

To prevent “Problem” behaviour

You might have a pet that destroys the entire house if left alone for a few hours. Or a pet that can’t be approached by strangers. Or an overly excitable puppy who jumps on everyone. Sometimes with persistence, patience and positive reinforcement, these problems are relatively easy to sort out. There are other more serious scenarios, such as a dog who is very aggressive, that might need the help of a trained behaviourist. The training methods employed by these professionals, sometimes, are the only means to solve a difficult situation. Getting to the root of the problem is essential here, for the sake of both you and your furry companion.

To build a relationship based on mutual trust

The oldest learning module used by many trainers has been to remind your dog that you are the “Alpha” and what you say must be done. No questions asked! Research now points out that this outdated concept can be physically and psychologically damaging to your canine. This can essentially also be dangerous for you as the training here relies mostly on using fear and intimidation to reach your goals. The new principles taught in “Positive training” reinforce the usage of positive reinforcement and prohibit the use of force or intimidation. Which is why this method has so many more success stories. Yes of course discipline is essential, but so is love and understanding.

So make life easy for you and your furry companion. Training not just your dog, but yourself will pave the path for a long and happy relationship.

Happy pet parenting!

By Crazy Dog Lady

mother to two crazy labrador boys….writer, entrepreneur and nuts about all things dogs.

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