Sometimes, your pup may seem like a free spirit, pulling you along on a walk or digging up your garden at will. You might think your pet is being playful, but these are usually signs your dog has formed some bad habits, communication is unclear, or some of your pup’s needs are not being met.

Many dog behavioral problems can be solved by improving communication between you and your furry companion. When dogs know they can depend on clear communication and structure, they live a more peaceful life. Teaching obedience commands can help things you may have never thought were connected, such as stealing tissues out of the bathroom trash. When done right, the mental stimulation that obedience provides goes a long way in helping dogs feel balanced and mentally satisfied.

Aggressive dog that needs obedience training

How Does Obedience Training Help?

It’s easy to communicate with a friend or co-worker when you speak the same language and clearly understand boundaries. Many owners tell us prior to training with us, “my dog already knows the basic commands,” but more times than not, the dog and owner have two different definitions for the same obedience words.

For obedience training to be successful, we have to make sure what we are communicating and asking our dog is crystal clear. Just because you are yelling “come” at the park, doesn’t mean your dog’s definition is the same as yours. Typically when you say “come,” you want your dog to come immediately. But your dog could be thinking, “well, my owner me to come over there when I am done sniffing all these trees.” If the definitions are not the same, is your dog really being disobedient? We think not.

Here are signs your dog could benefit from obedience training.

1. Your Dog Doesn’t Understand Basic Commands

One scenario is you just haven’t taught your dog any obedience commands yet. Great, no problem, we can start at any age. However, the more common scenario is: your dog can perform commands in your house, but ignores you at the park.

If your dog truly speaks the same language with the same definitions, then if they can do obedience commands in your kitchen, then they should be able to do the same obedience commands at the park. Most of the confusion comes around distractions and dogs’ definitions are different in these scenarios as we mentioned above.

A great dog trainer can help teach you and your dog commands with the same language with the same definitions, so you can both enjoy the luxury of clear communication and reap the benefits of clear communication: freedom, balance, and the peaceful living that humans and dogs were designed to live together.

2. Your Dog Pulls on Their Leash

Pups love the excitement of a walk, but a pleasant outing becomes stressful if your dog is lunging forward or trying to race off in different directions. Although it’s natural to pull back on the leash to try to get your dog to slow down, it only results in a tug-of-war.

Obedience training at The Dog Wizard teaches loose leash walking so it is more enjoyable for you and your dog. Your dog has the leeway to explore slightly ahead of you or beside you to satisfy its curiosity but is always close by.

3. Your Dog Growls or Bites

Dogs that are fearful or anxious respond with aggressive behavior. They may snap, growl, nip or bite to warn others to leave them alone — even if they’re not in a dangerous situation. Again, this is a result of bad communication, and usually, this is the result of humans not listening to the communication your dog is giving.

Aggressive behavior is usually caused by poor socialization or negative experiences. A professional dog trainer can help determine why your dog is behaving aggressively and show you how to build trust with better communication. Once a dog knows it’s safe under your guidance, it learns to respond in different ways.

4. Your Dog Barks Excessively

Barking is a natural way for dogs to communicate, but excessive barking is a nuisance to your household and neighbors. Dogs may bark because they want attention, are being territorial, or are reacting automatically to a stimulus such as a doorbell or a person passing by. More time than not, excessive barking is a dog’s way of screaming, they need more mental stimulation.

Obedience helps teach your dog to replace barking with alternate mentally stimulating behaviors. For example, we can teach your dog to go find an object that takes a lot of mental planning which satisfies their mental needs the same way barking does.

5. Your Dog Chews Things That Aren’t Toys

Dogs love to gnaw, but they don’t instinctually know why it’s all right to chew a toy but not your new pair of shoes. Keep in mind that scolding a dog after the fact doesn’t stop the unwanted behavior, it just makes them more confused.

Your pet may simply wait till you’ve left the room to continue the activity or chew something different. Clearer communication and the right amount of mental stimulation will resolve the confusion.

6. Your Dog Guards Their Belongings

Dogs that are protective of their food bowls, toys, bed, or favorite spot by the window can exhibit inappropriate behavior when someone comes near them. This is known as resource guarding. It may be instinctual to protect what’s theirs in the wild, but many dogs take it to a level that is unnecessary due to lack of mental stimulation.

An expert dog trainer can introduce techniques to show your pup it doesn’t need to feel threatened if someone comes near its valuable belongings.

7. You Adopted a Rescue Dog

Some rescue dogs come from abusive or neglectful environments, and these experiences shape how they see the world. While you know you’re providing your new dog with a safe and loving home, they may still be affected by previous experiences.

Depending on the background, some dogs that have been rescued need a little more patience when it comes to providing clear communication because they have been shown a different form of communication. An experienced dog trainer can help with socialization to boost their confidence and build the foundation of a trusting relationship.

Obedience Training at The Dog Wizard

If you’re concerned about your dog’s behavior, speak to our experts at The Dog Wizard about how obedience training can help. Dog training can improve communication between you and your pet, reduce stress and create more joy — for both you and your dog. Contact a location near you today.