I think we’d all agree that owning an obedient dog improves the life of the owner but have you ever considered how obedience training improves the life of your dog? A dog that has been trained and required to be obedient is safer, happier and calmer than a dog left to his own devices. An obedient dog exhibits more self control and is able to cope when faced with novel experiences. As well as being able to cope with novel experiences obedience training helps to keep a dog safe through the utilization of various commands.

Nitro and Tessa can run free because they have been trained off-leash

Nitro and Tessa can run free because they have been trained off-leash

One only has to sit in the waiting room at a vet’s office on a Saturday morning to notice the difference between an obedience trained dog and one that is not trained in obedience. The patient that is trained to be obedient can lie quietly while waiting for his name to be called. The patient that is not trained to be obedient may exhibit frenetic and anxious behavior possibly causing a chain reaction in the behavior of other dogs within the waiting room. An obedient dog is happier and safer at the veterinarian’s office. And the veterinarian’s and the vet technicians are happier and safer when handling an obedient dog. This goes for the groomer’s as well. Any groomer or bather will tell you they’d much rather work with an obedient dog versus a dog that is not accustomed to being controlled by a human. Untrained dogs can be emotionally uncomfortable being handled by humans and are unable to take instruction from the humans. Aggression is a common side effect caused by this emotional discomfort.

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Teaching Ralph to heel so he can keep a low profile when walking in his neighborhood

Another place you will find a lack of obedience causing problems for a dog is on our neighborhood sidewalks and streets. Dogs that have been trained to walk properly on a leash will avoid trauma to the neck either muscular or tracheal. In addition to avoiding bodily harm a dog that walks properly next to his owner greatly reduces his likelihood of being attacked by another dog. Dogs that walk in front of their owners are signaling to other dogs that they may be formidable challengers that might need to be brought under control through aggression. Furthermore, proper walking diminishes a dog’s propensity to behave aggressively toward another dog, person or small animal. In theory, a dog cannot behave submissively and dominantly in the same moment. Insisting your dog obey your command to heel assumes that his mind is in a submissive state. It’s hard to be a tough guy when you are obeying your master.

In addition to walking properly specific commands are useful in keeping a dog safe. For example, the come command can keep a dog safe while giving him the privilege of roaming unleashed. Dangers such as aggressive dogs, motor vehicles and wild animals can appear suddenly. A solid recall can prevent your dog from being harmed. The phrase “leave it” can be very helpful in keeping your dog from picking up chicken bones on the sidewalk or from gnawing on poinsettias during the holidays. Both have the potential to be very toxic. The stay command used alone or in conjunction keeps a dog safe while a situation is brought under control.

It is never too late or too early to begin an obedience program. Even dogs that suffer from loss of hearing or vision can participate in a modified form of obedience training. And regardless of breed or size every dog will reap emotional and physical benefits from proper obedience training. Best of all, the training you give your dog will last years to come and will be useful to you every day.