New Tricks: How Dog Training Increases Health and Happiness

Leon_iStock_000027770732_LargeWe all have at least one “bad dog” story to share at parties or around the water cooler. True, the behaviors of some dogs may drive you absolutely bonkers. From incessant barking at the resident backyard squirrel, to gnawing open the cushions of a brand new leather sectional, have you reached the point of… bewildered frustration?

This critical mass may lead you to finally consider training your dog, and we applaud your decision. After all, dog training is a fantastic common denominator for the ultimate in dog health and happiness (not to mention preserving your sanity!).

Your Dog’s Brain

Whether you are a new dog owner or your pup has been with you for some time, dog training will be more successful if you understand your dog’s complex emotions and behaviors. Your dog’s breed may inform you of natural tendencies or potential negative behaviors. Spend some time learning the ways your dog communicates with you and how he or she expresses emotions.

You are your dog’s “leader of the pack” and, as such, he or she will respond to boundaries and restrictions that you establish. When your dog knows his or her place in the “pack”, confidence, security, and trust increase and leads to a mutually beneficial and supportive dynamic. If your dog is exhibiting negative behaviors, they could stem from insecurity and dubious expectations.

Basic Obedience

Dog owners typically love to share information about their pets, so you may already have a recommendation for a professional dog trainer or animal behavior consultant. We are also happy to offer you a referral. Make sure you are a welcome and integral part of dog training; whether private lessons or in a group setting, you must be as involved as possible for the best results. Make sure training is a happy, fun experience for both of you.

While it is best to try and train your dog as a puppy, dogs of any age benefit from the mental stimulation and socialization that dog training promises. Regardless of age, most pups respond positively to learning the following basics:

  • Basic commands (sit, come, stay, down, heel)
  • How to walk on a leash (no pulling or yanking!)
  • Behavior solutions (no barking, biting, jumping)
  • Tricks (shake, roll over, etc.)
  • Games (fetch or tug)

Once the basics have been integrated into daily life, your dog can participate in more complicated training endeavors, such as agility, if desired. Training will offer your dog opportunities to learn, perform, and receive positive feedback – and your need for discipline will diminish.

Dog Training Saves Lives

Proper dog training will create safe parameters that your dog will respond to and thrive within. Beyond ceasing bad behavior, when a dog is trained to respond to your voice and specific commands, he or she can follow instructions that might end up being life-saving.

Calling for your dog to “stay” if found off-leash across a busy street will have better results than the alternative. Furthermore, a trained dog that ends up surrendered at an animal shelter will likely find a new home much faster than an untrained dog.

A Thriving Dog

Dog training will give your pup an opportunity to become reliable, confident, and welcome in environments previously off-limits. A well-trained dog can follow you into businesses or the homes of others because you trust he or she will behave.

By offering your canine friend a strong framework to learn from, your successful and thriving dog can become the companion you always wanted.



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