Why do we want to train dogs?
1. Obedience: to ensure that we fulfil our legal obligations to keep our dogs under control by ensuring that they obey our commands. Dogs desires and ours may conflict, therefore we do need to keep control of animals by management or training, and training will allow them a lot more freedom than the former. A dog that comes when called can be let off the lead, a dog that doesn’t jump up but knows how to sit nicely can be taken out and about.
2. Relationship: To build the relationship between owners and their dogs. Training provides a an opportunity for both dog and owner to learn about each other, a communication system, a dialogue, that operates both ways.
3. Activity: To provide activity and mental stimulation and enrichment for an animal that has been bred for a job and to do that job in cooperation with humans. We do not simply want obedience, but should want our dogs to show initiative – that comes from confidence and curiosity.
4. Consistency: Anxiety and frustration arise from a lack of predictability and a lack of control in the dog’s life, respectively. Providing consistency through communication, and providing the dog with a means to communicate to their owner, is vital for mental well-being.
Thoughts from the Steve Lindsay seminar, University of Lincoln 2011
Training is a form of communication based on predictable and controllable exchanges between dog and owner. It builds the owners management and control skills while encouraging confidence, trust and cooperation from their dog. Training is the means of getting good habits for harmonic living and can support well-being and relaxation as the dog learns when to pay attention to their owner and when to relax, when to control their impulses and when to let go! Training should be affectionate and based on mutual appreciation between dog and owner.