A cyber friend, Carol Sumbry - CCPDT – KA – Certified Professional Dog Trainer, when asking a prospective adopter if they will be taking their dog to obedience classes, the reply is usually “Only if the dog needs it”. With permission, (and because I couldn’t have put the words down like Carol has), here are some reasons why you should take obedience classes.
Even with people, if you can communicate well you are more likely to get along. Communication is the key to success in both the human world and the dog world! Imagine if you were suddenly dropped into a foreign country where all the rules were different and you didn’t speak the language. Well that’s what our dogs live with everyday! They don’t speak English. Sure they can learn words, but they communicate in a very different manner than we do and by relying on other senses such as their eyes through body language, their nose through scent, etc. Training classes will help your dog learn our language but more importantly, it will also help you learn their language!
Builds a bond
When your dog understands what you want from him, he is more secure and happy and you don’t become frustrated with your dog’s behavior. You understand each other. You can communicate without saying a word! You have a bond that truly grows from communication and understanding.
Gives you tools
Training gives you tools and alternative behaviors to help your dog deal with new situations, and you to deal with problems that arise. Training or learning is never over in the dog or human world. We are constantly learning and training helps us to learn new ways to manage behaviors that might come up. Our dog companions are usually with us for 10-15 years. We need tools to help them live in our world!
It’s socialization with people and dogs in a controlled setting. Dogs need to be with dogs. Dogs need to get along with people. A class provides interaction for your dog with other dogs and other people, in a very controlled environment with people of similar interests! Therefore it is fun and educational for both your dog and you! Nothing is sadder, in my opinion, than a dog afraid of other people or worse yet, unable to interact with his own kind!
I never thought training could be fun! I never thought dogs really liked to learn but I was wrong. I have yet to meet a dog that doesn’t like to learn! It’s fun for them. When I start training one of my dogs, they all come running as if to say “I want to try it” or “I can do that”. Think about how we learn new things all the time and that learning or school can be fun for humans and for dogs!
Often dog owners say “well my dog sits (insert behavior) at home just fine” but the key to a well behaved dog is to have them listen around distractions and other settings. Training teaches your dog to be a good citizen in public, not just at home. My dogs have gone to senior homes for therapy visits, traveled on vacation with me, gone to work, and stayed at nice hotels because they are generally well behaved. I think dogs, just like children, should behave in public and the reward is a more stimulating life where they can go many places!
Training builds a dog’s confidence.
Just like people are more confident when they learn new things, so is a dog. There is nothing sadder in rescue than a dog that is insecure. I know no better way to make a dog more confident, secure and happy in our world, than to teach them new things and to teach them to listen.
Safety, piece of mind
I always teach my puppy owners that if you can only teach your dog one thing, and you can teach him to do it perfectly, teach the come command. In my opinion every dog should have a very reliable recall. It’s the one and only command that might just save your dog’s life one day. It amazes me how many people say it 100 times a day, don’t reward a dog when he does come, and basically teaches their dog that come is “optional”. This command (if taught properly) can truly save your dog’s life! That alone is worth an investment in training classes!