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The History and Benefits of K9 Training

Feb 4, 2008
Humans have been training dogs to carry out tasks for them since prehistoric times, when the main use for a dog was to help humans in their hunt for food. As now, dogs would be trained to hunt and catch small animals such as rabbits and hares, and also to track larger prey which the dog would either bring to bay to be finally killed by its master, or would chase towards a party of men who would then dispatch the larger animal.

Through time dogs were found to be useful for other tasks, apart from hunting, such as herding sheep that draws on the animal's natural hunting instinct, and to guard their owners' property. As the training of our K9 friend became more sophisticated they were put to a variety of uses such as law enforcement and leading the blind through unfamiliar territory.

Dogs are now used as pets as well as put to work, and even a pet K9 benefits from good and strict training that enables them to become a member of the family and society in which they live. The training of a dog is not as simple as teaching it tricks or how to obey instructions by the sound of your voice, but is more of a social conditioning. Before undertaking the training of a dog it is essential that the owner learns something about their psychology and the way that dogs socialize with their own species in the wild.

Dogs are pack animals, as anybody that has seen films of wild dogs hunting will understand. Wolves are a species of K9, and everybody understands that wolves hunt in packs. The secret in training a dog to become a well behaved member of your family is to show the dog that you are the leader of the pack that your dog belongs to. This leader is called the alpha, and the alpha leads the pack in everything that it does. All other animals obey the alpha, and the job of the trainer is to communicate to the animal that he or she is the alpha and must be obeyed.

Once your dog understands this it will obey you, assuming that it understands the instruction being given. If you continue to give your dog an instruction that it does not understand it will become frustrated and might vent that frustration as anger or aggression, just as humans do. However, if you understand its psychology, you will be able to teach your dog what is acceptable behavior and what is not, and also how to behave in certain situations. For example the dog will be trained to understand that your home is not a toilet, and that it is not to sit on your favorite chair, and so on. The benefits of this type of training go far beyond simply having a dog that obeys you and that can 'do tricks'.

A well trained K9 is one that understands its place in your society, and it is happier knowing this. Dogs that get conflicting signals, and that are not given a clear lead by the alpha (you) become confused and consequently misbehaved. A well trained dog will form a lifelong bond with its owner, and will be able socialize as part of your family. When the dog instinctively follows your lead and your instructions it is not only seen as a being well behaved, but is also a happy dog.

It is important when training a dog to understand that they become afraid of what they do not understand, and become fearful when their routine is changed. A part of their training, then, should be to introduce them to a number of different environments and different people so that are less liable to come across change. However, an owner that understands this K9 characteristic will tend to own a dog that is less liable to become aggressive in certain situations because they can foresee the possible result of specific situations into which a dog can be put.

Young children, for example can create great stress within a dog not used to them, and a dog that is rarely involved with children should never be left alone with them. The dog will feel that it is the alpha relative to the child, and will punish the child for overstepping its authority just as it would another dog.

Another aspect of K9 training is exercise. A healthy dog needs a lot of exercise and a dog kept locked in a house all day can become very stressed and extremely difficult to train properly. It will also become bored, and be difficult to control. On the other hand, a well trained dog with plenty of exercise will be well behaved. Keep in mind that dogs are dogs, and should be allowed to be dogs now and again. Also keep in mind that your dog's pack is your family, and you should expect it to be jealous of any newcomers to your family. The dog will need to be trained to accept a new baby for example.

If you take the time to train your K9 friend properly, you will have a healthy and happy dog that will be able to socialise and live with your family with any problems. It is when the dog is ignored and lacks exercise and attention, or when it does not understand your instructions, that it can become 'bad'. A 'bad' dog is indicative of a bad owner.

The benefits of K9 training combine to give you a lifelong companion that will not only be faithful to you and your family, but that will also be happy and easily controllable wherever you take it.
About the Author
You can find out more about the history and benefits of K9 training on where you will also find information on K9 training equipment and how to train dogs properly.
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