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The most obvious reason to train your dog is that you can encourage good behavior—and discourage undesirable behavior. Training your dog means teaching them how to sit, stay, and heel, as well as how to resist chewing up your shoes, and how to wait to urinate until they’re outside. Training can help puppy owners and dog owners alike enjoy their pet’s company.
Just like humans, dogs can get bored—and when they get bored, they can act out. Training your dog, whether you’re teaching them essential commands like how to sit and stay, or fun new tricks like how to play dead can be a fun mental exercise that feels like playtime for your dog.
When your dog successfully learns a new command, it builds the trust and affection they feel toward you, transforming your dog from the family pet to a loyal and reliable companion. Working on commands with your dog is the key to developing a strong and lasting relationship with them.
The cornerstone of all training is control. A controlled animal is focused, calm, and attentive—ready to listen and respond to instruction. Since using a leash gives you 90 percent more control over your dog, you should do all training on leash—not so that you can yank it hard when your dog doesn’t listen, but so that you can stay in control and calmly maintain your dog’s attention.
The best preparation a dog owner can do when beginning dog training is mental: know that there will be ups and downs in the training cycle. Some days, it’ll seem like your dog can do no wrong—the two of you will be perfectly in sync and your pup will be flying through the commands. Other days, you’ll have to try again and again to get him or her to cooperate. Rest assured that a bad training session does not mean you’ve failed or that your dog has no hope of learning the command. Training is a marathon, not a sprint.
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