Training your dog can mean a lot of different things.
You can train him to go outside or to walk on a leash. You can also enroll in classes that teach him how to run through obstacle courses or detect seizures in his owner.
Outside of good nutrition, training your dog is one of the most important things you can do for him, and you.
There are many different methods he can learn, which I have outlined below, however training your dog basic commands is extremely important and one of the first things you should do. You can teach some of these things yourself or you can take him to a class, whatever works best for you.
When you have a well-trained dog, you will be able to handle any other issues that may arise.
Hey….stop!!! Does your dog walk well on a leash?
Obedience Training- I think every pet parent should teach their dog basic commands and leash work. Not only will it create a stable dog and a strong relationship, but it can very well save your dog’s life. Here are a few classes that are offered-
- Puppy Class- age range is 3-5 months old. Your puppy will learn socialization with people and other puppies. You will learn basic household commands and receive a lot of great information about caring for a puppy, nutrition, grooming, and housebreaking.
- Basic Class- age range is 5-6 months old. This class focuses on keeping your dogs safe and how to train your dog. You will be taught basic commands such as heel, sit, stay, down, stay in position and come when called.You will receive more info about nutrition, grooming, and problem-solving.
- Canine Good Citizen Class or CGC. This class can be taught within a beginner class or separately. It offers certifications to dogs with good behavior inside and outside of home. Dogs that pass this class receive a certificate from the AKC Canine Good Citizen Archive. My dog Riley went through this training at about 8 months old. Even though she was able to test, she wasn’t able to actually get the certification until she was at least a year. She passed though!
You can find local obedience schools and trainers easily online-
Agility Training- Dog agility is a sport in which you will direct your dog through an obstacle course focusing on speed and accuracy. If you did this with your dog just because it’s so FUN, I would totally understand it. However there are many other “it’s good for your dog” reasons as well-
- Exercise– this is really good exercise for your dog. Your dog will get to show off how agile he is by going through Weave Poles, Standard Jumps, Tire Jump, Dogwalk, Pause Table, Tunnel, and Teeter Board. How fun does that sound?
- Behavior issues– doing this with your dog on a regular basis can solve many issues he has by creating a really strong bond between the two of you. This builds trust in a big way and once you have trust, you have a good dog.
- Off leash– you WANT your dog to be really, really good off leash. If he gets out of the yard, or away from you while on a walk, you have to be confident that he will listen to all commands you give him.
- Its just cool– no explanation necessary.
If you want to learn more about Agility Training and how to get started, read here.
AKC Therapy Dog Program– Therapy dogs go with their owners to hospitals, schools and nursing homes. They volunteer their time in order to help improve the quality of other peoples lives. Therapy dogs are different than service dogs. Service dogs help their owners who may have disabilities; for example blindness. There is a program in Michigan called Leader Dogs for the Blind- check it out here.
Therapy dogs do not do this and therefore should never be considered the same. For more information on therapy dogs and what they do, go here.
Obedience/Sporting Trials– Have you ever seen the really cool AKC obedience trials on TV? Ever wondered if your dog could do that? Better yet, could YOU do that?
Well, wonder no more. There are 22,000 AKC events held every year within many sporting categories. Your dog must be registered with the AKC, at least 6 months of age, spayed/neutered, listed with the AKC Purebred Alternative Listing/Indefinite Listing Privilege Program (PAL/ILP) and with the AKC Canine Partners Program. If you’d like more information on sporting trials, click here.
Training your dog is fun and builds an unbreakable bond between the two of you. It can also save his life.
One of the first things your dog must learn is how to interact with the population. Check out my article about how to introduce your dog to people.
If you have any questions about where to find local classes, or anything else, please leave me a comment.