Training obedience commands such as sit, down, stay, etc, can seem like cool tricks and not necessary to some people, but it is a lot more than just cool tricks. Obedience command training is important for all dog/human relationships. It not only enhances communication with your dog by increasing their vocabulary of actual human words, but it also teaches them the subtleties of communication. By learning appropriate vs inappropriate behaviour, they learn how to coexist in your household. Human rules, generally go against the natural behaviour of a dog and this is where the majority of behaviour problems come into play. Jumping up, barking, exploring things with their mouth, digging...these are all natural canine behaviours. The problem arises however, when we ask them to come live with us in our homes. We therefore need to find a way to communicate what is or is not acceptable under our roofs. Obedience training gives us this form of communication.
The time spent training your dog enhances the bond between the two of you, which leads to a happier dog and of course a happier owner. Take the time when your dog first comes home, no matter what age, to show them what you want. Dogs are learning every minute of every day, it's up to you to teach them what you want them to learn. You have an average of 10 years to live with your dog. Why not make the most of the experience.
Jamie Kerester is a member of the AABP (Association of Animal Behaviour Professionals) and is a certified Pet Dog Trainer with a Masters level canine behaviour diploma.