collie chasing

A Short History of Canine Obedience

The History of Canine Obedience from sit to recall

Canine obedience means a reliable compliance from a dog with the command being given by the owner/handler. As it stands a dog to be considered competition obedient rather than just trained in obedience, it has to respond reliably to each command given by its handler. A dog can go through obedience training classes and it doesn’t mean it is obedient.

When training a dog in obedience it can be lengthy process, the standard of obedience the owner/handler wishes to achieve with the dog will depend on the commitment to training and the compliance of the dog.

Canine obedience training can be done by anyone, the trainer, the owner or the whole family. Typically it is the owner of the dog that participates in the training of the dog, as they will be the one who will be giving the commands. This builds the relationship and the trust between the dog and owner and this is important for success in any type of training.

Basic obedience is usually a 6-8 week course or an ongoing drop-in type class, where the basic commands and how to communicate with the dog are shown and taught to the owner. With most classes/courses the dog and owner are taught one command at a time. Specific words are taught and attached to each command to make it easy for the owner and dog to understand, walking on a lead or heel work is in most cases the first training exercise taught before learning other commands.

Working type dogs have always been taught to obey commands that relate to the type of work that they have been breed for, such as the herder type dogs that are breed to move a flock of animals (sheep, cattle, geese, ducks ect) this is done as a natural instinct but the dog is trained to respond to a herders whistled directions, or a hunting dog like the Labrador or the Spaniel searching for its quarry, the quarry is only hunted or chased after the hunter’s gives the command.

So what is the history behind Canine Obedience.

The twentieth century, saw the formalization of Canine obedience training. This originated in the Army, RAF and the police, the methods used and the approach used in the training where sometimes harsh and based on punishment rather than respect. However in the later part of the century research started to show that positive training was more effective and became more popular in this type of training. The change in training methods spread slowly into the world of the domestic dog training world. Today many dog trainers heavily rely on positive treat training to teach new commands and behaviours.

We all as dog owners want a dog that we can share our lives with, some dogs need little or no training and others prove more of a challenge. As a novice dog owner you might find Canine obedience training difficult to start with and may not be successful, the reason is that sometimes we expect dogs to think and act like the human, and are surprised when the dogs don’t act in a way we want them to.

What I believe novice dog owners need to consider is their dog’s trainability, its energy level and exercise requirements before choosing a breed of dog. High intelligence is not always a good thing in a family dog, as these types of dogs can require an extensive daily mental and physical routine.

What you do have to remember that no breed is un-trainable, the dog overall capacity to learn the basic is inherent in all dogs. Owners may need to be little more patient, or creative in the training, or both with certain breed types.

 © Canine Coaching