by Louise Blake
Taking your pet to obedience training lessons can seem like a big, scary step to take. What if they judge your pet? What if they judge your capability as an owner?
Obedience training can be an emotionally tough journey, as it is typically focused on helping your pet to do things that don’t come naturally to them. It can also be an excellent idea, though, if you can see elements of you or your pet in any of the following situations…
Your pet cannot stand to be alone
Some breeds of dog can be more high maintenance than others, and extreme reluctance to be alone is to be expected, along with all the bad behavior and barking that goes along with it. It’s not pleasant, but there isn’t much you can do about it usually.
For other pets, this sort of behavior is unusual, and might suggest that the pet could benefit from being trained to ignore or even enjoy being left alone for short stretches of time.
Failure to address and remedy this problem can result in destroyed furniture, poor animal hygiene, an increasingly neurotic and dependent pet, and a thoroughly disrupted life.
A lot of obedience training is designed to benefit the pet as well as the owner, and can improve quality of life for both.
If your pet can’t stand to be away from you for five minutes, its quality of life can be seriously diminished. Consider contacting a specialist who deals primarily with emotional pet issues before moving on to obedience training.
Your pet engages in behavior harmful to itself and others
If your dog attacks another animal while out walking, it can be tempting to dismiss it as a one-off. If your cat starts sleeping in its own mess, some people treat it as a nuisance or a symptom of old age rather than an issue of obedience.
The truth is that in many cases destructive and self-destructive behavior in animals can be helped by obedience training.
A good obedience trainer will dig beneath the surface, and rather than ‘simply’ fixing the behavior, will try to find out what might lie behind the behavior, and what structural changes the owner can make to their routine and the way they interact with the pet to solve the problem once and for all.
You find it difficult to discipline and say no to your pet
As I have already hinted, a good obedience trainer will often feed problems with the way you treat the pet straight back to you.
This isn’t a criticism of you personally. Obedience trainers deal with complex pet problems every day, and understand that too much affection can cause just as many problems as too little affection.
Try visiting during sessions if they allow (or encourage) this, and see what’s going on and what’s going wrong in your pet’s life.
You might have this problem without realizing it if your pet is obese, needy, nervous or attempts to dominate you.
When Is Obedience Training A Bad Idea?
In truth, there are few instances in which obedience training is a really bad idea. I would argue, in fact, that the only cases in which obedience training can be a bad idea are when the obedience trainer is inexperienced or takes shortcuts.
Obedience trainers have a very diverse skill set that they draw on for their work, and they will generally address deeper problems in pursuit of results.
For this reason, I recommend giving an obedience trainer (ideally one that comes with a personal recommendation or a long list of glowing testimonies) a try if you spot any unhealthy behavior in your pet.
Louise Blake is a passionate animal lover and writer for several pet companies, including the natural pet shampoo company Anicura. She currently has her hands full with her boisterous puppy, Harley, but she’s loving every minute of it!