The benefits of having a trained dog are nearly limitless! No matter what age you start training your dog, foundation training provides the basis for any activity, behavior or job you want your dog to do. From the moment you get your new puppy or dog, here’s a run-down of just some of the advantages and benefits:

  • Bonding. Training builds your mutual bond, enhances the partnership and enriches the relationship you share with your dog. The key to training is to make it fun. When you can make it fun, you can learn together and keep it positive, and have a successful, long-term relationship together! A trained dog is a well-valued and fully participating member of the family. Is there anything better?

  • Socialization. Particularly if you have a new puppy, the proper start in socialization is key. What is socialization? It’s a really fancy word that just means your dog is well-accustomed to something, be it other dogs, humans, sounds and noises, and other external stimulus. The most critical stage during a dog’s development is 8 to 12 weeks, as this is the fear imprint stage. By properly introducing him to new experiences, you’re setting him up for a successful life dealing with all sorts of situations! Be careful to remember not to force your puppy into situations. Allow him to set his own pace, encourage him and reward him for being calm and sociable.

Photo by: @a_chihuahua_named_oreo

  • Good Manners. It might be cute when a puppy nips or jumps in play, but not when he grows into a large adult! Likewise, feeding table scraps might be fun but can lead to a life of begging, or too much rough play without boundaries can also be troublesome once the dog is bigger and stronger. Proper obedience training and reinforcement of desired behaviors, coupled with the proper responses to undesired behaviors, will ensure your dog has lifelong good manners.

  • A Solid Foundation. When you spend a few simple minutes daily practicing obedience cues with positive reinforcement, you’re laying a foundation that will help you to address anything the two of you face. A good recall can mean safety if you should ever drop your leash. A solid focus and sit-stay can mean avoidance of encounters with less-than-friendly animals. Practicing cues in the home and then translating them into outdoor, more-distractions-ridden scenarios will lay a foundation of trust and safety between you and your dog. It also lays a foundation for teaching other cues and behaviors, and tricks!
  • Proper Communication. Learning about how your dog communicates and how to work with your dog, instead of against your dog, is essential to positive reinforcement-based training. Wouldn’t you rather encourage what your dog should be doing and setting him up for success instead of correcting him so he avoids punishment, which can also lead to anxiety, fear and other problems? Proper communication and understanding will bring you closer in the right way!
  • Enables Enjoyment. Training enables you to choose from among a broad range of activities and dog sports to participate in and enjoy with your dog such as dog agility, Rally-obedience, dancing with your dog, tracking, search & rescue, skijoring, sledding, water rescue trials, obedience, carting, reading programs, therapy work, and a nearly endless range of fun and philanthropic things to do!

Photo by: @cobytheminischnauzer

Sources: Trainyourdogmonth.com; delightfuldoggies.com