Investment in Your Dog’s Education
“Use it or lose it” is a saying that applies to many subjects; physical conditioning, speaking a second language, and certainly to a dog’s training.
Using the skills our dogs learn during training keeps them sharp in how well they respond. But more importantly, using the skills everyday makes living with our pets more enjoyable, and isn’t that really the whole point to begin with?
Training develops a way to communicate in a meaningful way. It is a way to provide information about what to do and what is or isn’t acceptable behavior. Without some education and helping our dogs to understand what we want, all of our words are just pointless noise.
Here are a few photos from a recent camping trip with my daughter, my dog Diva and one of my foster dogs that demonstrate how basic obedience skills add value to our daily interactions.
We found plenty of ways to put to good use some of the words the dogs have been taught to understand.
Down was key in keeping the dog’s noses to themselves when we sat to eat. Since the dogs understand that word means to keep their belly on the ground until they have permission to get up, it was a simply way to allow us to enjoy our meals in peace.
And Place was used multiple times when we wanted them to stay in a specific spot and not be underfoot when doing small chores around the campsite. By the way, the Insect Shield Blanket worked great as a place to keep the dogs comfortable and repelled the gnats that tend to pester them while lying on the grass.
Heel was an obvious choice when hiking with the dogs, particularly if anyone else was sharing the trail with us. The dogs understand that the word heel means to walk nicely alongside, rather than forging ahead or lagging behind us. When given permission the dogs were allowed to run ahead, sniff and explore the woods and a recall brought them back to us.
All of us had a fun couple of days in the woods but the obedience commands the dogs have been taught made it less stressful and more enjoyable.
The more you integrate obedience skills into your routines, the more your dog can adopt good behavior as a way of life. So once you’ve made the investment in your dog’s education remember to use it on a daily basis.