Dog training is a topic that has sparked numerous debates, with some questioning whether training is necessary for a dog's overall happiness. While it may seem tempting to believe that dogs would be happier if left untrained, scientific research and real-life experiences overwhelmingly support the opposite view. In this blog post, we will delve into the question of whether dogs are happier if they are never trained, backed by studies and evidence from the field.
Establishing a Strong Bond: Training plays a crucial role in building a strong bond between dogs and their owners. Dogs are social creatures that thrive on companionship and a sense of belonging. When training is incorporated into their lives, it promotes mutual understanding and communication, resulting in a deeper connection with their human counterparts (Mertens, 2016). This bond provides dogs with a sense of security, trust, and overall emotional well-being.
Mental Stimulation and Enrichment: Dogs have an innate desire for mental stimulation and enrichment. Training sessions serve as mental workouts, engaging their cognitive abilities and providing an outlet for their natural instincts. Without proper training, dogs may become bored, leading to behavioral issues such as excessive barking, chewing, or digging (Rooney et al., 2016). The mental challenges presented during training exercises satisfy their need for stimulation, thus promoting a happier and healthier state of mind.
Improved Social Skills: Training not only benefits the dog but also facilitates positive interactions with other animals and humans. Dogs that receive obedience training are more like
ly to exhibit appropriate social behaviors, reducing the chances of aggression or fear-based reactions in various situations (Hiby et al., 2004). Consequently, well-trained dogs can enjoy a broader range of social experiences, resulting in a happier and more fulfilling life.
Safety and Freedom: Training provides dogs with the necessary skills to navigate their environment safely. Basic commands like "sit," "stay," and "come" can prevent potentially dangerous situations, such as running into traffic or approaching strangers in an aggressive manner. When dogs are trained, they gain more freedom to explore and participate in various activities, both indoors and outdoors, without compromising their safety or the safety of others (Blackwell et al., 2012).
Enhancing the Human-Canine Relationship: The benefits of training extend beyond the dog's well-being and encompass the owner's satisfaction and peace of mind. Training helps owners effectively communicate their expectations and establish boundaries, leading to a harmonious coexistence. A well-trained dog is more likely to be included in family activities, outings, and social events, strengthening the bond and enhancing the overall happiness of both dog and owner (Casey et al., 2014).
Contrary to the misguided notion that untrained dogs are happier, the evidence overwhelmingly supports the benefits of dog training. Scientific studies have consistently demonstrated that training promotes stronger bonds, mental stimulation, improved social skills, safety, and enhanced relationships between dogs and their owners. By investing time and effort into training, dog owners provide their furry companions with the tools they need to thrive and lead happier lives.
Blackwell, E. J., Bradshaw, J. W., & Casey, R. A. (2012). Fear responses to noises in domestic dogs: Prevalence, risk factors and co-occurrence with other fear-related behaviour. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 140(1-2), 76-84.
Casey, R. A., Loftus, B., Bolster, C., Richards, G. J., & Blackwell, E. J. (2014). Human directed aggression in domestic dogs (Canis familiaris): Occurrence in different contexts and risk factors