Everyone thinks their dog is an angel, just like their kid. It’s true, in a way dogs are born wanting to be a part of your pack, wanting to please you no matter what.
But their idea of angelic behavior is not our idea of angelic behavior -- they are just running on a dog operating system instead of a human one. And that’s exactly why it’s so important that your dog be properly trained.
That mouthy puppy who snaps harmlessly at faces and hands will turn into a dog that bites, unless you train her from the beginning.
Your neighbors who insist it's okay when your Jack Russell humps their leg or your Shepherd jumps on them as a greeting? They are lying.
So who needs obedience training and who doesn’t?
Even if your dog isn’t displaying any major problems -- at any age -- obedience classes are a great benefit to both of you. Besides getting quality time with you (believe it or not, dogs love training time), your dog usually gets to socialize with other dogs -- it’s a little bit of a playgroup for him. And the classes reinforce to both of you the best way to correct your dog, handle him, and generally how not to be a pushover. The best time to do obedience training is when your dog is a puppy, but you can train any time, any age.
If your adult dog is exhibiting any of the following behaviors, s/he probably needs classes:
- Going to the bathroom indoors or exhibiting marking behavior
- Jumping up on people
- Acting aggressively towards other dogs or people
- Not coming when called
- Shyness and fear around other people
- Pulling excessively on the leash
Some of these are fairly minor and others are serious safety issues.
When your dog pulls at the leash or tries to chase a squirrel while on a walk, you are not in control -- which means it won’t be long before she escapes your grip and runs off.
A dog who doesn’t come to you immediately when called is a dog in danger -- your dog should stop on a dime and come back to you, even when she was happily chasing her ball into the path of oncoming cars.
And none of us can afford to have a dog that will put friends and family in danger. When a dog bite happens, you’ve hurt your family and face losing your dog.
The good news is obedience classes can help prevent or repair all that. And, the bonding you experience with your dog will make it all worth while.
Image via Laertes/Flickr