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Old 01-20-2011, 04:18 PM
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Default "Why should I bother to train my dog?"

Why should I bother to train my dog? - Washington DC Dog Training | Examiner.com

Contrary to what many people may believe training your dog is not about “breaking their spirit” or making them a robotic machine in tune to every one of your commands.

Training is all about strengthening the relationship between dog and owner and making your dog a wonderful addition to your family. A well trained dog is one that will earn more freedom and contribute to your household in a positive way. A dog in the family should not add frustration or stress but rather be a joy to be around and a member of the family in every sense of the word.

Who has not seen an episode of Rin Tin Tin, Lassie, or Benji? These shows entertained us so much as children and even gave families a forum where they could come together and all be entertained by the antics of these canine actors. Granted I never fell down a pipe like Timmy and my dog never saved my life like Lassie did for her owner but that doesn’t mean that my imagination didn’t go just as wild.

Having a dog in the household contributed to my fondest memories of childhood. I got my first dog at the age of 11. Owning a dog gave a sense of structure to my day and taught me that sometimes you have to make sacrifices for things that you love. I washed cars, shoveled snow and raked leaves for months until I could save up enough money for the adoption fee! What a great sense of work-ethic that helped to instill in me at an early age.

Every fall I would enter a competition at the local animal shelter with my dog Rex. We usually chose the Owner-Dog look alike, Most Obedient and Best Trick categories. Even though this would not be the beginning of a career in Hollywood I trained this dog every day until that show came and went. The very day after the show we would start planning on what trick we would be working on for next year! Not only did this give me a sense of accomplishment in reaching a goal, it also gave me a sense of pride that if you worked hard enough no goal was unattainable. Even as a teenager when there seemed to be nothing that my parents and I would mutually agree on, we did agree to go to the “Mutts N’ Stuff” event every fall and made it through that day without a single argument. Dogs really have that power of bringing a family together and putting a smile on people’s faces no matter what their age, experience or interests. Perhaps it does not become everyone life’s passion to train dogs like it has mine, but there is no denying that having a dog in the family helps every child develop a passion for life.

A well-trained dog does not have to be a canine star but also should not be one that has to be put away when guests visit or be left behind on family outings. Chasing your dog down the street certainly does not add benefits to anyone’s lives. Rather a well-trained dog is one that comes when called and can be taken with you for car rides, long walks in the park or a romp on the beach.

Unemployment in dogs is rising at an alarming rate these days and training will give your dog the job that they need to keep their sanity as well as yours. Dogs, like us, are social beings and thrive on connecting with others. When a dog does not have a job or a hobby their attention can become directed to what we would label as “bad behavior.” Barking, jumping on people, pulling and digging are only a few of the most common complaints that I hear from dog owners. Sometimes a lack of purpose in the dog can even lead to aggression and destructive behaviors. People have told me how their puppy has shredded their shoes, knocked down their children or worse yet, one dog did not even permit one woman’s husband from entering their own bedroom…for 2 years!!! I don’t know on what planet this would seem reasonable and/or accpetable.

This does not have to be the norm. Training is the only fair way of teaching a dog what our expectations for them living in our society entail. All “bad” behaviors are generally just misdirected “normal” dog behaviors. It is not wrong for a dog to bark while playing or bark at an intruder, but it can be very annoying when a dog incessantly barks out the window or at other dogs. Peeing is not an inappropriate behavior, only when it is inside your home on your Persian rugs! We need to make the investment in our dogs of letting them know what our expectations for them are and setting them up for success from the very beginning.

Continue reading on Examiner.com: Why should I bother to train my dog? - Washington DC Dog Training | Examiner.com Why should I bother to train my dog? - Washington DC Dog Training | Examiner.com
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