January 16, 2020

The Top Five Reasons you Should Train Your Dog

There are a lot of reasons that training your dog is essential. Here are my top five:

1. You will have a stronger bond with your dog.

Studies show that those with behaviourally sound pets have a stronger bond with them. Training your dog with positive techniques will build trust and mutual respect while the two of you bond. A well trained dog with good manners is more manageable, relaxed, content and confident. A dog with training will pay more attention to you and reduces stress on both sides to create a loving relationship.

2. Your dog will be happier.

Training provides your dog with enrichment, exercise, and positive social interactions with humans and other dogs. New situations are less stressful, as your dog learns to respect boundaries and behave properly in social situations.  Other dogs and people will be more comfortable and at ease around her as well, because a well-mannered, obedience-trained dog is much more appreciated and welcome. She will receive more attention and interaction from family members, visitors, and passers-by, than if she were the ill-mannered. And these interactions will be positive experiences for her. A trained dog requires fewer restrictions. The more reliable the dog, the more freedom she is given.

3. You’ll be happier.

Having a dog that is well trained, obedient, happy, relaxed, responsive and easy for you to manage means you will get more enjoyment from the experience. You will see fewer stress behaviours like destructive chewing, inappropriate barking and aggression and this will lead to less stress for you.  The more social and the better behaved your dog is, the easier it is to take her along wherever you go. Better control makes it possible for you to take your pet to dog-friendly public parks, events and businesses, or bring her along on other outings. It eliminates the need to lock your dog away from guests when they visit your home.

4. It may save her life.

Even a well behaved dog could bolt if scared. A dog that will return to you when called can make the difference in a dangerous situation, like running out in front of an approaching car, racing out the door during a thunderstorm or running away while evacuating your home because of an impending natural disaster.

5. It helps all dogs

Without training, many dogs are likely to misbehave. And when owners allow their dogs to misbehave, everyone suffers: You, because you live with the dog, the dog, because others dislike his misbehaviour; your neighbors, because living next to a difficult dog is not fun; and ultimately every dog owner, because whenever a dog creates a nuisance, it increases anti-dog sentiment, and makes it more likely that tough legal restrictions will be placed on all dogs.

Far fewer dogs would end up in animal shelters if their owners would simply take the time to train them.

Positive, and not negative training.

Of course, when I refer to training, I am only referring only to positive training methods. Punitive trainers believe you must first teach her who is boss by becoming her ‘alpha’ or ‘pack leader’. This approach will inevitably fail. The methods used to establish this dominant status are physically and psychologically damaging to your dog and potentially dangerous for you. Dogs that are taught using positive reinforcement methods are more tolerant, self-controlled and behave much more predictably in different situations.

Training can be time consuming initially, but the benefits are worth it. If your dog lives until he is 15 or 16 years of age, training him early may not seem so much. Failure to properly train your dog may mean 15 or 16 years of a difficult dog whose behaviour can be stressful for you and him.

The Ottawa Humane Society helps dog owners by offering a series of behaviour-specific and general dog training workshops.

Bruce Roney
President & CEO