I am often asked by clients why it is that dogs today have so many behavioral problems. As a child, it seemed that Dog Training was a service reserved for the wealthy estate owners of the northeast. Today it is a necessity for all dog owners regardless of financial status. I have contemplated that question since it first came to mind in the infancy of my career.
I remember as a grade school student waiting for the bus with my school mates and all the neighborhood dogs. Our return home was always greeted by an anxious pack of wagging tales and swinging tongues. In those days leash laws and invisible fences did not prevent dogs from social interaction by their own devices.
The epidemic of behavioral problems in dogs today is the direct result of our failure to clearly understand the needs of mans best friend. During the past 20-30 years we have stolen the social environment of dogs by enacting leash laws and putting up fences. Dogs are pack animals and require social interactivity to maintain a healthy mental attitude.
The role of the dog has evolved greatly during the past 60 years. Every breed of dog that currently exists has been selectively bred because they provided some service or purpose for man. Every dog had a job! Herding livestock, protecting animals or people, searching for lost persons, human companionship or chasing rodents these animals all had a purpose and the accompanying sense of pride that comes with a profession. We have again stolen this from our best friends.
So what happens when we don’t give our companion animals a job or a social environment in which to live? An idle mind is a dangerous thing! Behavioral problems rear their ugly head. Imagine for a moment that you had a child in your home, and from about 1 year of age, you never allowed that child to see or interact with other children. Then you never allowed the child to go to school. Perhaps you even worked full time and had to leave the child home alone for most of the day light hours. Do you think this would be a normal, well adjusted child that would easily fit into society? I think not. More than likely this child would become a ward of some state correctional institution. This is the sad existence of most dogs today and the cause of behavioral problems like destructive behavior, dominance aggression, possessiveness, fear, excessive barking and more.
So what is the answer? Professional Obedience Training. By training your dog in obedience and practicing these exercises in your every day life, dogs feel useful and know they are contributing to the pack. The importance of obedience training your dog today cannot be over emphasized. It is as important as regular trips to your veterinarian or properly feeding your dog.
Real obedience training, the kind that teaches your dog to respond to your whispered commands on the first command will fulfill your dogs’ need to work and contribute. This is the most important gift you could give to your dog, your family, and those that have the good fortune to meet your well behaved best friend.