Why train your dog? Because it is a pleasure to have a well-behaved animal that responds to your instructions and it may help keep the dog safe from injury one day.
I recommend to anyone getting a puppy to attend a puppy class as it will teach you how to work with your dog and the puppy will experience lots of other dogs and people and get the socialization it needs.
If you already have a dog, it is never to late to get started. Rather than go into detail here, look for resources already available for dog training. You can take a class, get a book or look for videos on the Internet.
Training your dog at home doesn’t have to involve a long period of time. They are going to loose focus after 15 or 20 minutes anyway and then you will be in a period of frustration for the dog and yourself. Use the commercial breaks while watching TV to work with your dog. Anytime is training time. Take a few minutes in the morning, a few in the afternoon, and any other time you can spend 5-10 minutes working with your dog.
Basic training should include; sit, down, heel, stay, and leave it. After that it is all up to you on what you want your dog to know. But it is fun to have a dog who shakes a paw, rolls over for you, retrieves the newspaper or can do what I call “paws up” where they sit up on their butt and hind legs with their front paws raised.
“Leave it” is a great thing to teach your dog. It can come in handy if you drop a prescription pill on the floor, if you are walking your dog and it comes across food lying on the ground, or if you don’t want it to pick up something hazardous.
Dogs are amazing creatures and love to please you and enjoying learning. It is good for them to stimulate their minds and it makes the human dog relationship that much more fun. Don’t forget to use lots of praise and reward them with treats. I like to use the same dry kibble that I feed them when training. It goes into a pocket and is easy to grab and give to them.
Even though my dogs are in their senior years now I still reinforce my dogs training by having them sit, down or shake a paw with me before I feed them or give them any treat.
It’s fun to have a well-mannered, well-behaved dog and that starts with training.