You can’t live properly with a dog unless it’s trained. It’s that simple, and it really doesn’t matter whether your canine is a four-pound Toy or a 104-pound Working breed. An untrained dog is an invitation to disaster. A dog that won’t come when you call is always in danger.
You can’t blame the dog either. If you don’t train your dog, you are at fault. No one else. In fact, if you’re not prepared to properly train your dog, you probably shouldn’t get one in the first place.
Now for the good news: dogs are easily trained. That’s probably the reason why dogs have long been America’s favorite pet. Despite the fact that they train relatively easily, however, you still have to do the job. One way to make training simple is to get a breed that readily adapts to your lifestyle and that corresponds to what you want in a canine companion. Serious breeders can help you with this. They should tell you about their breed’s inherent trainability–advice you should heed before making your final decision.
Rest assured that training does not strip a dog of natural instincts. After all, these are the things that attract people to dogs in the first place. We want you to celebrate the canine spirit, not abuse it.
What training does, however, is structure the dog’s responses, giving you a good companion. Training gives you an animal you can trust, even flaunt. In fact, it establishes a channel of communication between you and your dog that significantly enhances your mutual respect and friendship.
Every civilized dog should know at least five basic commands: heel, sit, down, stay and come. These commands form the core of the exercises required for a Companion Dog degree in an American Kennel Club Novice Obedience competition. Even if you don’t take your dog beyond these beginning lessons, they are absolutely essential in making every dog a true companion.
Incidentally, you train your dog to understand its name in much the same way you train it to do anything–by simple, repetitive action. As far as the name goes, make sure everyone in the household is using the same name. And, you can teach an older dog a new name, if you must.
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