As dog trainers, we receive calls from pet owners with concerns about a variety of issues. They range from keeping their pets safe from running out the front door, sitting or laying on command, and more severe behavioral problems such as aggression or protective of food and toys.
These issues come down to one key element—Basic Obedience. If owners have not invested the time, training, or money to understand Basic Obedience and their dog's behavior can become unmanageable.
Basic Obedience is the building block for all other training and the most crucial step in training dogs. It is a common misconception that old dogs cannot learn new tricks. While it is easier to train dogs at a younger age before bad habits have formed, any dog can learn new behaviors. Dogs from shelters and rescues can be given a new lease on life with an investment into their training.
Most people raise dogs the same way their parents did, which can lead to bad habits being passed down through the generations, resulting in serious behavioral issues. Feeding dogs scraps from the table, rubbing their nose in urine/feces when they have had an accident, or using the crate as a form of discipline are standard household practices that often do not fix the behavior and may make the behavior worse.
Humans domesticated wolves over 35 thousand years ago, and we have learned and changed how we cohabitate and communicate with our four-legged friends. An initial investment in understanding and learning a better way to train a dog could save frustration and further costs down the line.
Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, but intelligence; not everyone can speak dog. In many of the cases we work on, we have to start with Basic Obedience before addressing any other behavioral issues or concerns the owner has. We cannot address destructive behavior such as barking, chewing, or aggression if the dog does not understand what to expect from their owners.
Dogs are only in our life for a short time, but we are there for their entire lives. Owning a puppy, an older dog, or a rescue, investing in Basic Obedience allows dog owners to have a happy and healthy relationship with less stress or concerns. It is necessary to take the time to invest and learn how to train our dogs.
Different obedience programs are available. They include Group Obedience Training and Home Training. Once Basic Obedience has been mastered, dog owners can further their dog's training or enjoy their life together in a peaceful environment with communication and understanding.