Authors: Sarah Pruzansky & Phoebe Cooper
January is National Train Your Dog Month! Dogs of all ages can learn and benefit from training, which increases your pet’s confidence, strengthens your bond with your pet, supports their mental and physical wellbeing, and provides them with valuable skills and tools that can be useful in a multitude of situations.
As with anything, the keys to training are patience and consistency. Remember that your dog isn’t necessarily “bad”; they are just doing what dogs do naturally: barking, chewing, jumping, and so forth.
Our job as owners is to offer our dogs positive alternatives to destructive and sometimes dangerous behaviors, and to prepare them for challenging situations should they occur.
Continue reading to learn the benefits of training your dog and how to get started!
Mental Benefits of Training
Training provides mental stimulation to all dogs and helps anxious dogs feel more confident and secure.
For example, many dogs suffer from separation anxiety, which may motivate to them engage in destructive behaviors when left unattended, and it also causes them distress.
One way to help support your dog in reducing their separation anxiety is by implementing crate training. Crates should never be used as a form of punishment; instead, crates can offer your dog a place of refuge and make them more comfortable whenever you need to leave them alone.
Furthermore, it’s just as essential to keep your best friend mentally stimulated as it is to keep them physically active: learning new commands, tricks, and tools offers dogs mental stimulation that will help keep their minds active and reduce boredom and destructive behaviors.
Physical Benefits of Training
Basic training, such as walking dogs on a leash or teaching them how to fetch, can help a dog get the exercise they need to stay healthy.
Not only that, but training can help your dog stay physically safe. Muzzle training, as an example, can be useful in situations if your dog were to become injured.
When a dog is injured, they may become reactive due to pain they’re experiencing. If they need to visit a vet for an injury, the vet will muzzle your dog to ensure they don’t bite anyone as they assess and address the issue. If your dog is already comfortable with wearing a muzzle, this will make an already stressful situation more tolerable for them and make them less susceptible to further injury.
A Sense of Purpose
Training is also a great way to provide a sense of purpose and fulfillment for dogs.
Service dogs, for example, are trained to assist people with disabilities, and therapy dogs are trained to provide comfort and companionship to people in need. And you may be surprised to learn that many dogs love working and engaging with people in these ways!
Bonding with Your Dog
Beyond basic obedience, training can also open a world of fun and rewarding activities for dogs and their owners to participate in together. By taking advantage of bonding opportunities, you can also improve your connection with your dog and gain greater insight into your dog’s individual personality and needs.
So, when you decide to commit to a dog, you should also consider the responsibility of spending time with your best friend by doing physical and mental exercises regularly. It will improve not only your pet’s well-being, but yours as well!
Develop a training plan for your dog based on their individual needs, age, and areas of opportunity.
When initiating a training plan, be sure to get everyone in your household on board to maintain consistency, and everyone outside of your household on board to respect the training and routines you’ve established for your dog.
If your training methods are proving difficult or unsuccessful on your own, opt for a training class! There are lots of options for outsourcing training, including private and group classes that are available at a variety of price points.
One way to set your dog up for success with training is with basic socialization—socializing your pet helps ensure that your dog can approach and be approached by other dogs and humans without responding anxiously or aggressively, keeping themselves and other safe, and it also allows them to participate in dog-friendly activities and dog-training classes if necessary.
Rewarding Your Dog
One of the most common ways to train your dog includes positive reinforcement and rewards for desired behaviors.
For example, if your dog learns a new command or trick, treat your pet with a healthy reward to encourage that behavior. Dogs don’t always understand why we get upset when they’re doing what they’re naturally prone to do. However, they do understand when they are being rewarded for more positive behaviors and will do more of those behaviors to get more rewards!
A great way to reward your dog during training is with Natural Farm dog chews and treats, such as our nail-free Chicken Feet. Natural Farm products are 100% natural and sustainably sourced from local farms.
To learn more about Natural Farm chews, treats, and bones, for your best friend, visit our store page today!
Overall, dog training can have a positive impact on the lives of you and your dog. Training provides a way for dogs and their owners to communicate, bond, and have fun together, and it can also correct behavioral problems and improve a dog’s overall wellbeing.
For more ideas on ways to train your dog and how beneficial training can be for your pet, check out some of our other dog training blogs!
About Natural Farm
In 2018, after years of searching for high-quality, natural dog treat products, we decided to bring them to the market ourselves. That’s how Natural Farm was born—we wanted to present the industry with what it lacked the most: natural dog chews, treats, and bones, sustainably sourced from local suppliers and produced in our own human-grade, FDA- and USDA-approved facilities, where every product is lab tested for quality and contamination.
Natural Farm is committed to pets, people, and the planet. We give back to communities and pets in need, support reforestation efforts and nonprofits, and our products are packaged using recycled materials.
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