For some people this question seems obvious. People want to train their dogs for a variety of reasons. Some people want a service dog, others train for a sport or to show them in the ring, yet more others train them to do a job such as search and rescue or herding. There could be a lots of specific reasons people want to train. Many pet dog owners come to puppy classes because they want their dog to be social and to have basic obedience skills. These are, of course, all good reasons to train your dog. However, during a seminar this week with the wonderful Ken Ramirez (Vice President and Chief Training Officer of the Karen Pryor Academy), I was reminded of why we really should train dogs and that is for animal welfare.
It is too easy to forget that training is an excellent way to provide your dog with physical exercise, mental stimulation and encourage cooperative behaviour, all of which benefit our dogs and improve their welfare. It is worth remembering that training is not all about our own needs - to get our dogs to perform a task that is useful to us. It is actually just as much, if not more, about their needs. They need to learn new things all the time and for them, training should be fun. So this week, I encourage you to train your pet to do a silly trick just for the love of training. Just to see the enjoyment on their face and just to have fun together! We would love you to post pics and videos of all the creative things you come up with to our facebook page.
Remember: Training is not a luxury - it is a key component to good animal care (Ken Ramirez, 2017)