Dogs are one of life’s greatest joys. They keep us entertained, make great company and cheer us up when we’re feeling down. Owners and their dogs often share incredible bonds. However, adding other people or animals into the mix can complicate things.
As much as many of us would love to hang out alone with our dogs all day, there come times when you and your furry friend will need to interact with others in public or at home. When those times come, it’s important to know your dog has the discipline to behave.
If your dog exhibits obedience or behavior issues, consistent training can reaffirm its good habits, stamp out the undesirable ones and prevent other nasty behaviors from developing. Owners should start a training regimen right away when they notice warning signs of bad behavior. In this article, we’ll discuss six signs that your dog could use obedience training.
Food aggression is one of the most common behavioral issues among dogs. A form of resource guarding, food aggression was once useful for wild dogs needing to protect their scarce food — but the trait is less desirable in domestic settings. A dog exhibiting food aggression will lash out at another animal or person that approaches its food dish.
In a healthy home environment, a pet should never have to worry about its next meal. Instincts may tell a dog otherwise, though. Food aggression can cause a dog to nip at or bite its housemates. These actions can cause serious injuries, so it’s in everyone’s best interest to train a dog against food aggression.
A Traumatic Previous Living Situation
Adopting a rescue dog can be incredibly rewarding, but there may be some growing pains as your dog adjusts to its new home. Some shelters may have a full history for their dogs, but others might not. Either way, it can be difficult for an owner to know exactly what their rescue has been through. Abuse or neglect from previous owners may have reinforced unhealthy behaviors in your dog.
When you adopt a rescue dog, it’s important to do what you can to facilitate a calm, welcoming environment in its new home. Owners should implement training methods if their rescue exhibits major aggressive behavior or disobedience. Training is also a great way to forge a new bond, so it’s smart to train new rescues even if their behavioral problems are only minor.
Failure to Recognize Basic Commands
Dogs need time to learn basic commands, but most are ready for training after they reach six months of age. Even after the first six months, training a dog takes consistent effort. If you’re having trouble developing your dog’s obedience and getting good behaviors to stick, you may need to add more structure to its training.
One of the best ways to practice a puppy’s basic commands is to try them in busy settings like group classes. Rewarding a puppy for obeying commands in the face of numerous distractions can go a long way toward solidifying good behaviors.
Severe Separation Anxiety
It’s important to spend as much time with your dog as possible, but life can be busy. Dogs need to be able to cope with modest amounts of alone time. Dogs with separation anxiety will bark, whine or resort to destructive behaviors like tearing up furniture or urinating indoors when their owners are away.
Separation anxiety indicates that your dog feels insecure when you leave. It fears you won’t return and lacks the coping skills to calm itself down, so it lashes out. Training can help a dog build self-confidence and trust in its owner, resulting in fewer separation anxiety symptoms.
Excessive barking is disruptive and can be frustrating for owners. It’s important for everyone’s peace of mind to train a dog to keep its composure when the doorbell rings, the mailman passes by or a cat crosses the yard. But barking is natural for dogs, and when they do it, they don’t immediately recognize they’re doing something wrong.
Structured training is always a better way to reduce barking than quick fixes like shock collars or muzzling. Obedience training will teach a dog to respond to commands and help them understand when it is and isn’t appropriate to bark.
Aggression Towards People
Meeting new people may bring out aggressive behaviors like jumping, barking or nipping that your dog doesn’t normally exhibit. Your dog may only be trying to play, but aggression around people is dangerous.
Fortunately, aggressive behavior is also fixable through training. Obedience training will reinforce your dog’s good behaviors when it meets people so it defaults to those over its aggressive traits. Plus, training can help owners recognize signs of aggression so they can remove their dog from the situation before an incident occurs.
Should I Train My Dog or Get a Trainer?
The best way to foster a well-behaved dog is to build a trusting relationship with it. Your dog should know it needs to listen to you and want to do so. You can and should work on training at home. Of course, sometimes a little extra help is necessary. That’s where professional trainers come in.
A certified dog trainer can bring out the best in your dog and teach you valuable skills to implement at home. Working with a dog trainer is also a great way for your dog to practice its social skills with someone new.
The benefit of obedience training here lies in the fact that such classes will teach you how to read your dog’s body language. You’ll learn how to look for stress, anxiety, exhaustion, distraction, and other indicators that may let you pull your dog out of a stressful or overwhelming situation before it escalates. Your dog will also learn how to be polite and friendly with people who are kind to her, rather than bowling them over with love.
Obedience Training From the Experts
If your dog needs training, the staff at Dog Works Training Company is here to help. We’ve provided obedience training for dogs for more than 12 years. Our trainers teach essential skills to young puppies and solidify commands for otherwise fully trained puppies. We also work with young adult dogs who need a refresher on their manners. The Dog Works Training Company team trains dogs earlier and more thoroughly than many owners realize is possible.
For more on our dog obedience training services, contact us today.