Clicker Training 101- Lesson 2 – Why Training?

Lesson 2 - Why Training?

If you have just acquired a puppy and you’re in the throes of first love, you might wonder why you have to get down to business and train him. He’s cute, he’s cuddly and you don’t want to ruin all that cute cuddliness with training, right?

Training is critical to keeping you and your dog happy. Whether you choose clicker training or something else, the idea is to condition your dog to do the right thing, to make right decisions, to be a “good citizen” of the world, and to be welcome wherever you choose to take him.

We will examine clicker training specifically in the next chapter, but for our purposes here, let’s consider why you should clicker train your dog.

Why train?
Dogs that aren’t trained aren’t only difficult to be around, but they are often unhappy. Why? Because they live a life of disobedience and frustration, that’s why.

Dogs are creatures of habit and structure. Much like children, they thrive when the expectations for their behavior are clear and when those expectations are clearly defined and communicated.

Dogs don’t come into the world with an innate sense of right from wrong. They learn that from us, so training is critical to ensuring that your dog survives in the world and that he “gets by” well enough to be a happy and peaceful companion.

Specifically, we train because:

You want your dog to listen – When you tell your dog to do something, you want him to understand you well enough that he can listen and perform the act you are asking him to perform. Listening to you means the difference between a dog that’s acquired an inner discipline and a dog that’s given a sense he has no inner discipline.

You want to take your dog with you – That is, you want to be able to take your dog with you wherever you go. If your dog is well trained, you can take him with you to a myriad of places you wouldn’t even try to take him if he wasn’t trained. This benefits you because you don’t have to always leave your dog at him and it benefits him because he gets to go along for the ride now and then.

In addition, when you take our well-trained dog with you to a variety of places, he will be welcomed if he behaves well. Many people are open to having dogs accompany their owners if they are behaved and disciplined.

You want to show him off a bit – Everyone loves a well-trained dog. When your dog is well trained, he can come with you to a variety of places (see above), and meet new people. When he’s well trained, he can also show off for your friends and the people you meet. Whether he knows tricks or not, he can enjoy the feedback he gets from people who enjoy having him around. A well-trained dog can make even a non-dog lover enjoy having a dog around.

You can play with him – This means so many things. When you dog is well trained, you can have fun playing with your dog in a way that you know won’t over excite him and cause problems. In addition, you can enter him in dog contests and competitions if you like. Because he’s trained well, you won’t have to worry that he won’t behave and listen to you when you head to a meet or show.

Your dog is happy – People who clicker train their dogs, in particular, say their dogs are happy and pleasant to be around.

Because clicker training is a positive method for training your dog, your dog will likely be happy to comply and participate in the training. Many dogs get excited and happy when they even see the clicker because it has such a positive association for them. And when your dog is happy, you’re happy, as are all the people who come in contact with your dog.

Training your dig isn’t always fun, but it doesn’t have to be difficult and the rewards are immense. Your dog is happier when he’s trained, when he knows and understands the expectations and consequences.

That happiness feeds happiness in others, those who come in contact with your dog. Even non “dog people” can spot a well-behaved and well-trained dog from afar. You want your dog to be the one that’s highlighted and pointed out for his good (not bad) behavior.

Now, some people prefer to take a more laid back approach to their dog’s training and let the dog figure out for himself what’s OK and what’s not. Formal training just isn’t their bag.

We would argue that formal training is essential. What you are going to learn about clicker training will help you and your dog to become better citizens of the world and it’s not time consuming or difficult. Your dog will respond and enjoy the positive feedback he receives for responding correctly.

Filed Under: Clicker Training

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