It isn’t just puppies who can benefit from training! Dogs of all ages are capable of learning new behaviors or skills. Many dog owners think that after a puppy reaches a certain age you can’t break their bad habits or teach them new skills, which simply isn’t true.
You just need to take the time to train them and have patience during the process.
Training your dog has so many benefits, from building their socialization skills to strengthening the bond between you and your dog. That is why in honor of National Train Your Dog Month, I want to share four reasons why this is the year you should start training your dog.
Training your dog will help you develop a deeper bond with each other, and you will have a better understanding of how your dog learns. Research has even shown that dogs will develop a more trusting relationship with their dog parents through shared activities, like learning new skills.
Positive reinforcement training is one of the best ways to build that relationship with your dog, and it’s also easy to teach some skills and behaviors on your own using this technique without the help of a professional dog trainer. However, to be successful, you need to put in the time to teach these skills to your dog, even if it’s just 10-15 minutes a day.
When you teach your dog how to respond in certain social situations, your dog will find more enjoyment out of these experiences. If you show your dog new experiences by bringing them to different environments like the park or friend’s house, then you are helping them build their confidence and they will learn how they should behave in similar situations.
These experiences will also provide your dog with physical and mental stimulation, which will help decrease the chance of them displaying unwanted behaviors like anxiousness or excessive barking when they are in a new environment.
You can teach your dog not to jump on guests when they arrive or to not steal food, but it all starts with training, and making sure you are not accidentally reinforcing the bad behaviors at the same time.
What this means is that rewarding a behavior can be the same as training a behavior. For example, if you pet your dog when they jump on you then you are reinforcing the behavior as okay and they may continue to do it.
Everyone knows about the basic obedience skills you should teach your dog, but really the possibilities are endless when it comes to the different tricks and skills your dog can learn. You can even teach your dog to dance with you!
If you’re ready to start training your dog, there are so many ways to get started! At the Arizona Animal Welfare League, we offer different options for everyone depending on your budget and schedule. We have a variety of training courses that we offer monthly, including basic obedience, puppy manners, shy pups and feisty fido.
We also offer private dog training sessions if you would like one-on-one support with a professional trainer. If you don’t have the budget or the time to commit to several course, we also offer free online training guides to help you with common behavior issues and easy skills you can teach your dog.
With so many different options to help you get started, you have no reason not to take the plunge in to dog training!
Editor’s note: Alessandra Navidad is president and CEO of the Arizona Animal Welfare League. Visit aawl.org.
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