Our dogs are our best friends. They’re there for us when we need them, they share affection, keep us on our toes and most of the time, respond to our requests. At least, that’s how it should be. But, what do you do when your dog just won’t listen? How do you know if they need obedience training?
The truth is, even the best of pets can develop behavioral problems, especially in those early years. So, when issues pop up, it’s best to start obedience training right away to prevent bad behaviors from becoming more serious and continuing throughout adulthood. Here are some key signs to look out for to know if your dog is in need of obedience training:
Basic Commands – If your dog or pup doesn’t know basic manners, it’s time for obedience training. Every dog should at least learn basic commands like “sit,” “stay,” “lie down” and “heel.” And, these aren’t just for your convenience; these commands are also for your pet’s overall benefit and safety. Of course, it’s always a good idea to equip your dog with basic manners so that they behave appropriately toward any passerby who shares an encounter as well. But remember, training takes time, patience and repetition, so stick with it, and start as early as possible.
Barking – Excessive barking can be incredibly frustrating. It can even be confusing for both your dog and you, as they’re clearly trying to tell you something urgent but haven’t quite gotten a grasp on what defines an urgent situation. For instance, to a dog, a bird landing on the window could be urgent and, to them, demand the same level of intense barking as would a stranger breaking through that window – not good. Fortunately, obedience training can help curb this instinctive need to yell for your attention. Your dog can learn commands like “stop,” “calm” or even “quiet.” Barking is in their nature; they just have to learn when it’s an appropriate behavior and when it’s not.
Separation Anxiety – Dogs that suffer from severe separation anxiety can greatly benefit from obedience training. Often, anxiety-induced behaviors include barking, whining or becoming destructive when left alone for any period of time. Some that carry even greater sensitivities may even urinate, defecate or chew their way through anything and everything in your home to try to escape. There are many reasons for these behaviors, but most feelings of anxiety can be associated with a lack of confidence and a dog’s ability to self-soothe when left alone. Obedience training can help build their confidence and reduce these symptoms.
Food Aggression – When dogs express food aggression, they’re showing a form or resource guarding. This traces back to their wild instincts where aggression instilled fear into other animals that sought to steal their food. This, of course, is not a behavior you want in your home, as it is a misplaced behavior and often signals underlying insecurities. You want to work to resolve this issue immediately, as it can lead to nipping, biting or worse.
Trauma Rescues – Dogs that have been rescued from traumatic living situations may come with certain problematic behavioral tendencies. Of course, this doesn’t mean that they are bad dogs; it just means that they may need a little extra love and training. Some dogs may come into your home after experiencing abuse or having spent an extensive amount of time in a shelter, which can cause extreme stress on any animal. But, it is possible to rehabilitate, and obedience classes are the best place to start.
Training can benefit everyone and even strengthen the relationship that you and your dog share. So, don’t wait to start obedience training. Learn to train on your own, or ask your veterinarian for recommendations on class or individual training sessions with qualified trainers.