If I had one wish it would be that every dog owned by a human had basic obedience training. If I had two wishes it would be that every shelter could provide dogs with basic obedience training or a list of trainers to contact for training prior to the adoption of a shelter dog. Basic obedience is not just for puppies. Yes old dogs can and should learn new tricks and here’s why…
I’ve owned many huskies throughout my life. Most Huskies do not like to come to you when they are called BUT if you have trained them to sit/stay you can yell “sit”/”stay” from a distance and walk up to them and retrieve them in many cases.
A dog trainer told a story during one of her seminars that involved an aggressive German Shepherd with a bite history. The trainer was talking to the owners while sitting in a chair with the owners holding the dog on leash. Next thing she knows the owners have dropped the leash and the shepherd now has two feet on her legs and is growling in her face. She knew the shepherd knew sit so she yelled it. He sat and the owners grabbed the leash.
Your dog loves going on walks. You feel the leash tugging behind you and look back to see your dog limping behind you. You tell your dog to sit and shake and discover a piece of glass in your dogs pad. You pull it out and your dog feels so much better.
It is late and your dogs want to go out into the backyard. You let them out and they start chasing something, you realize very quickly that it is a skunk. You have worked for over a year on a solid recall with your dogs. You yell come and they come running back into the house and you have just avoided hours of deskunking. You pat yourself on the back for teaching that recall and give the dogs cookies and lots of praise.
In 2017 make a commitment to your dog to work with a trainer on basic obedience or to practice the skills they already know but that have grown moldy and need some rejuvenation. If your dog already knows the basics consider Rally or Agility to keep their skills solid. You never know when those basic skills might come in handy.