Dog Training Part I
Dog training is the process of teaching a dog to exhibit certain desired behaviors in specific circumstances. Some examples are:
* Teaching a dog basic obedience commands (part of obedience training)
* Teaching a dog to perform tricks casually or for circus acts
* Teaching a guide dog to lead the blind
* Teaching a rescue dog to find victims of a disaster
* Helping a hunting dog learn to perform its instinctive behaviors at appropriate times
The specific behaviors taught in each case are different, but the underlying principles are similar.
In the wild as pack animals, canines have natural instincts that favor training. These instincts are manifested when the dog lives with humans as a desire to please a handler, as a dog would please senior members in a pack in the wild. The handler is simply whoever is working with a dog at the time.
Most dogs, no matter their eventual advanced training or intended purpose, live with people and therefore must behave in a way that makes them pleasant to have around and for their own safety and that of other people and pets. Dogs do not figure out basic obedience on their own; it must be trained.
Basic training classes
Professional “dog trainers” usually do not train the dogs, but actually train the owners how to train their own dogs. Although it is also possible to send a dog away to a training school, the owner still must at some point learn what the dog has learned and how to use it and reinforce it. Owners and dogs who attend class together have an opportunity to learn more about each other and how to work together under a trainer’s guidance. Training is most effective if everyone who handles the dog takes part in the training to ensure consistent commands, methods, and enforcement.
Formal training in classes is not always available until the puppy has completed all its vaccinations at around 4 months; however, some trainers offer puppy socialization classes in which puppies can enroll immediately after being placed in their permanent homes as long as disease risk is minimal and puppies have receieved initial vaccinations. In most cases, basic training classes accept only puppies who are at least 3 to 6 months old.
Next article: Dog Training Part II – Age for early training