Train, trained, training. Do you, is yours, going to, are you? Train?
Train: to develop or form the habits, thoughts, or behavior by discipline and instruction. To make proficient by instruction and practice, as in some art, profession, or work.
So do you? Do you train your dog? Training is a funny thing, or perhaps I should say funny word. Many people think of it as a very official practice; while others think that it is mean and bossy to do. There are many meanings of the word 'train.' But when talking about dogs and training; for me it means to offer an education. Sure our dogs can be trained for a very specific purpose. Agility, flyball, scent work, search and rescue, guide dog etc etc etc. But, what about the average 'Joe dog?' You know the one that is sitting at your feet, beside you on the couch or on your bed? What about them?
I for one love training. I love dog behavior so when I can connect a human and canine together in a cohesive manner, it makes me very happy. I am continually fascinated how just a little goes a long way. That is with regards to humans and dogs. Teaching a human is often be much more difficult than a dog. Dogs learn through association, humans learn when and if they want to. Many humans shut down when you discuss the art of training; they don't want to hear it. Not dogs, dogs love to learn and the only thing you need to do to teach them is to find out what makes them tick, what motivates them.
Every dog is different so training should never be thought of as a science. There are certain basics to teaching a dog and when you've been doing it for a long time, you hopefully will know them. That is of course if you are paying attention and open to the learning curve. If you are a know it all type, then I am sorry to say that your learning curve will be very short and dead ended quite quickly.
Training does not mean that your dog must act as a robot; it does not mean that you are being mean to them by telling them what to do. Everyday basic training is a way to offer our dogs an easy way to live in our human world. Without human guidance, our dogs know how to be dogs. Not all dog behaviors are desirable in our world; that is where we step in and guide. Training encompasses a whole spectrum of activities; from the tiniest of lessons to full on life saving maneuvers.
Never underestimate the power of training; even the smallest act of guidance can have a huge ripple effect. Training should never be considered a single act as it is an ongoing process. Some dogs learn quickly while others need much longer to absorb a lesson. All dogs are intelligent, it is sad to see a canine mind wasted; never given the chance to thrive in life. When I ask someone if their dog is trained; they often do not understand the question. I then say "the basics," do they sit, down, stay on command? These are the things that dogs should know as a very bottom line basic maneuver training. Can you move your dog without touching them? Does your dog understand directions in movement? It can be very frustrating to a dog to be hauled around by the collar because their owner never took the time to teach them a few movements.
Training is not a bad word; perhaps we should just call it what it is, educating.