There are lots of obvious benefits to training your dog including having a well-mannered pet that is easy to live with and easy to travel with. Although it may not seem it on the surface, there are lots of health benefits to training as well. A well trained dog is more likely to live a long and healthy life than his untrained friends.
A well trained and properly socialized pet is much easier for your vet to examine and far less difficult for you to bring to the vet. This means you are less likely to put off a vet visit. It also means that your vet will be able to do a more thorough exam and take his time ensuring that small problems are detected earlier. This in turn can lead to treating problems in their early stages when treatment is simpler and often more effective.
Because your pet is well trained and has routines, you are also able to notice when he deviates from them more easily. Deviations from normal behavior is one of the most common first signs of a health problem that should be investigated more thoroughly.
Well trained dogs are easier to exercise because they aren’t dragging you down the street. This means walking them, taking them to the park or out on hikes, etc. is easier and more pleasurable for both of you which makes it more likely to happen frequently. Exercise is a key component to canine mental and physical health.
It reduces the risk of obesity which has many health consequences including diabetes, coronary issues, respiratory problems, increased risk during surgery and more difficult recovery post-surgery, and exasperation of arthritis. Diet and exercise are important aspects of weight management. Dogs that receive lots of exercise are less likely to be obese.
It also helps keep the joints mobile. This is particularly important in older pets that are at a higher risk of arthritis. One important way of slowing down the progression of arthritis and keeping your pet as comfortable as possible is ensuring that they get regular exercise and are kept at a healthy weight.
Physical stimulation is also important to mental health. Dogs that don’t get enough exercise or are bored are more likely to take up destructive behaviors like chewing, soiling in the home, and excessive barking. A well trained dog is welcomed into activities like doggy daycare and canine hiking groups where he can get lots of exercise and mental stimulation if his owner is away for long periods due to work.
Like people, dogs can suffer from Alzheimer-like symptoms as they age. Studies have shown that dogs that receive training and participate on canine sports throughout their lives are less likely to develop cognitive issues. In the ones that do develop problems, training and mental and physical activity can delay onset or slow down progression of the disease. Even short training sessions done a few times a week can make a difference.
Unfortunately, sometimes changes in your lifestyle mean that you have to give your pet up. A well trained pet is much
easier to find a new home for. Many more families are interested in taking in a trained dog than one that needs a lot of work. House manners, potty training, good social skills with people and other pets; these are all traits that appeal to potential adopters. Unruly, poorly behaved, overly enthusiastic, jumps up on people, etc. are characteristics that most homes are not looking for in a dog.
Sadly, there are a lot of dogs out there in need of homes. If, for some reason, you cannot keep your pet, you will want him to have the best possible chance of finding a great new home. Training makes this much more likely. Untrained animals are more likely to end up being euthanized because a home cannot be found for them or they are considered unadoptable.
It is in your and your dog’s best interests to do some training. Not only will it make him more fun to be around and easier to live with but it also improves his mental and physical health and who doesn’t want that?