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After struggling with training a dog, you may feel tempted to give up. Giving up on training an outdoor dog, for instance, can be a real temptation. You may believe you’ll still manage to have reasonably enjoyable interactions without going through the hassles and challenges of real training. Perhaps you believe the dog will learn on his or her own, over time, how to behave. Training is difficult and can seem like such an effort that surrender may feel sensible.
It is not. Effective dog training is not a mere option. When one considers its immeasurable benefits, it becomes nothing short of mandatory. Allowing a dog to live untrained can pose significant risks. The costs associated with these risks are so severe that rational decision making requires one to opt for training, regardless of the costs in time and effort it may require.
Initially, training can be the difference between life and death for a dog. An untrained dog, for instance, cannot be recalled effectively if he should wander away. He may encounter any number of dangers in his wanderings—many of which could result in serious injury or death. In critical pressure situations, a well-trained dog can be controlled and protected. The untrained dog is left only with his instincts and lessons learned through the proverbial school of hard knocks. In a world populated by an infinite number of potential dangers, this is often not enough.
Training, then, is less of an option for a responsible pet owner than it is an obligation. Any pet owner should consider training the animal a basic responsibility that cannot be overlooked. The dog’s very life, after all, could hang in the balance. It is unthinkable that any responsible pet owner would look past that consideration and still decide that training was simply not worth the effort it requires.
Second, a dog’s quality of life is improved significantly by training. He will understand how to please his human companions, giving him a sense of purpose and enabling him to access the social interactions dogs naturally possess. He will be able to go through life as a friend and companion, instead of being treated as a mere nuisance or ignored. By learning to behave to his owner’s satisfaction, the dog is able to increase his own satisfaction. Leaving a dog untrained makes it difficult for him to understand how to get the positive human attention and reactions he craves and may curse him with a life filled with unpleasant exchanges with people as he unknowingly misbehaves.
Third, the dog owner’s quality of life is improved dramatically by dog training. This occurs on multiple levels. Initially, the owner and dog are able to develop a close relationship, which brings with it numerous rewards. The owner is also able to avoid the frustrating experience of having to care for a pet that doesn’t know how to care back or who is unfriendly and prone to errant behavior. Additionally, the owner is able to avoid the liabilities created by an untrained dog. The owner can avoid the destruction, inconvenience and even dangers posed by an untrained pet. Instead of being a constant source of irritation and guilt, the well-trained dog becomes a source of pleasure and pride.
It is easy, under some circumstances, to believe that extensive and effective dog training is not worth the significant effort it may require. However, this perspective, if acted upon, will actually create a situation necessitating more effort than training would have ever required. By committing to effectively training a dog, the owner makes an investment of time and effort that will pay out in a variety of ways.
Settling for anything less is highly inappropriate and cannot be adequately discouraged.
Good training will protect a dog from danger and will enable him to live a pleasant and fulfilling life. It will also make the owner’s life more pleasant and can result in a greatly rewarding relationship with the pet. Effective dog training is truly essential.