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  • Writer's pictureScarlett Bowman

Dog Tip: Why Teaching Obedience to Your Dog Is a Must

Dog on a leash waiting for owner's instructions

Just like humans, dogs need to be taught how to behave with other dogs and people.

Here a few reasons why obedience training for you dog is a must:

Your Dog’s Social Skills

When your new puppy pees on the rug, chews your bedroom slippers, and steals your dinner – or your family pet starts jumping on people for attention, barking, or tugging on the leash – it’s not a sign that you have a bad dog. It’s a sign that you and your dog are not communicating well. Although a few large, aggressive dogs or rescue dogs with a history of abuse may have intractable behavioral problems, most dogs who misbehave are just confused.

Just like their human pack members, dogs love to learn. Spending time training your dog will provide them with much-needed mental stimulation, and prevent them from becoming bored and looking for stimulation in mischievous ways! Outside of training, they will benefit from being able to meet new dogs and people safely.

Your Dog’s Emotional Well-Being

Dogs are pack animals. Even their wild cousins, such as wolves, jackals, and coyotes live and hunt in groups. What this means is that bringing a new puppy into your home is more like raising a child than like buying a toy. Dogs need to be socialized into a group hierarchy to live a long, safe, and happy life. Because you understand the modern world better than your dog does, you need to be the dominant member of the hierarchy, so that the dog will obey you when necessary.

Your Dog’s Safety

Dogs are very much like babies or toddlers, in that they don’t really understand the dangers of the modern world. Many breeds of dogs, for example, were raised to hunt or herd sheep or cattle, and are instinctively very skilled at it. Unfortunately, when your border collie’s instincts lead her to try herding cars on a busy street or your terrier decides to forage for food and rats in dumpsters containing industrial waste, the result can be a badly injured or dead dog.

Because dogs don’t understand technology or what is safe to eat in the modern world, as an owner, you are responsible for keeping them safe and making sure they don’t get injured. Teaching a dog to heel or stay or drop something on command is just like teaching your toddler not to run into traffic or touch the hot stove or chew on power cords; it’s a necessary part of responsible dog ownership.

Protection from Liability Issues

Animals that have no history of aggression toward people or animals are still capable of causing harm. For instance, a dog might bite a child who is pulling on its tail, ears, or other parts of its body. It’s also not uncommon for dogs to attack those it perceives as a threat to themselves, their owners or their territory. If your dogs acts out in this way - regardless of why it did so - it could be removed from your care, and even euthanized. You could also be held strictly liable for your canine’s actions. This means that you will likely be required to pay any damages a victim incurs as a result of being harmed by your pet.

Training your dog will teach them that you’re the one who decides if a person, animal, or object is a threat. This will make interactions less stressful for you, for your dog, and for other people and animals the two of you encounter - and help keep all of you safe!


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