Michael Peer, Dog Behavior Professional, Reston, Va: Posted on Friday, December 27, 2013 6:35 PM
This may seem like a silly question. I'm amazed at how many dogs have little to no obedience training. Even if we are to do it ourselves rather than having professional guidance. When dogs learn obedience skills from their owner it's beginning a positive Leader/follower relationship. Every time we tell our dog to do something and follow through to ensure they do it, we are providing the information they need to know they are pleasing us. You see Ruffy & Fluffy are here for one reason only- to please us. Sounds cold? Not really. What's cold is when owners don't communicate properly what it is that pleases us. All owners consistently reward their dogs for unearned attention. This means when Girly waddles up to you and gives you her googly stare, you respond by talking to her or petting her every single time. Over time this becomes very reinforcing and before you know it, she is owning (controlling) you! Obedience training your dog helps to ensure your dog is following its leader and breeds confidence in your relationship and your dog too. When your dog knows what is expected of him, he will offer more appropriate behaviors which will be deemed pleasing to the two of you. This synchronization is the harmony we are after. Structure and boundaries are key. Obedience helps to bring this necessary element in your relationship with your dog.