Buying a dog is no small or casual activity. It’s the beginning of a relationship with a pet that can be extremely deep and meaningful, and that will typically last you in the region of a decade, with memories that linger for much longer.
The first thing you should do if you’re thinking about buying a dog is, of course, to ensure that you’re getting a dog from a reputable source. Fortunately, thanks to the wonders of the Internet, you can find reputable breeders at Facebook, and through any number of other channels, and see the reviews that exist for them in advance.
But what should you do once your dog arrives? Many people will be so bowled over with awe and affection at the sight of the new puppy, that they will think about little else other than making sure that the puppy is well fed, happy, and gets as many cuddles as necessary.
As soon as possible, though, it’s really important that you begin training your new dog. Owners sometimes fail to do this at all, and inevitably come to regret it later.
Here are a few reasons why you really do need to train your new dog.
So that the dog is happier and has a sense of structure
Dogs are pack animals, and naturally exist in well-established hierarchies. Among other things, this means that your dog will only ever feel that it’s really “living properly” if you fulfil your role as “pack leader” properly, and establish the right kind of order for it.
Dogs who know how things stand, and have a clear sense of what they should and shouldn’t be doing, are simply far happier – as long as the rules you set aren’t arbitrary or overly harsh.
By contrast, dogs which are left to “raise themselves” often have emotional issues and behavioural disorders.
So that you like your dog more, and aren’t tempted to neglect it
No one likes to entertain, even for a second, the idea that they could “neglect” their dog.
And yet, if you fail to train your dog properly, it is very likely that your dog will become a nuisance for you to handle and be around.
Despite your best intentions, there’s a good chance that you will then find yourself being more emotionally distant from your dog than you would like, and may even look for excuses to avoid interacting with it at all.
This isn’t good for your dog, and it’s not good for you either.
So that you and your dog have more freedom and can do more together
If your dog is well-trained and properly socialized, you can do all kinds of fun things together. You can take your dog out in public to dog parks and other communal areas, without worrying about how it’s going to behave, for example.
You can also have your dog in the house with you, without worrying that is going to decimate all your furniture. You can invite friends over without worrying that your dog is going to try and nip their fingers too aggressively.
Perhaps counter-intuitively, creating the right kind of structure for your dog gives both of you a greater degree of freedom, and allows you to do more together.