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The Importance of Dog Training: Understanding the Basics

May 28, 2022

During the pandemic, 23 million American households brought home a new dog or cat. While some headlines would have us believe a huge percentage of those dogs are untrainable and being abandoned by their owners, the reality is that 90% of those new dog owners do not plan to give up, according to the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals). Some are even attempting to train those canines. We chatted with a certified professional dog trainer to understand some of today’s most popular training options and how they can bring out the best in your pooch.

Getting to Know Our Expert

When it comes to overall experience, very few pros can keep up with Tera Dschaak-James. She’s the co-owner of Training Spot ( and a certified professional dog trainer with some impressive accreditation, inducing KPA CPT (Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner), ABC (Animal Behavior College), as well as CPDT-KA (Certified Professional Dog Trainer-Knowledge Assisted). Tera understands dogs, what makes them tick, and how to train them. If you’re going to seek training advice, she should be on your list.

We asked her about the most popular types of training and what type of dog and owner could benefit from some professional support.

Behavior Training: If your dog is fearful, aggressive to humans or other animals (barking, lunging, biting), has a hard time leaving the house, or destroys things when you’re not around, behavior training might be a good fit.

Obedience Training: All too often a dog with huge potential is put back into a shelter because of a lack of obedience. Obedience training teaches dogs and their owners how to communicate. Commands include sit, stay, come when called, heel, and lay down. The idea is to help the dog become bomb-proof, according to Tera. A good trainer will help dogs with calm greetings, leash skills, and how to act around kids, adults, and other animals.

Retrieving Training: If you’re a hunter, training your dog to retrieve can make your life a lot easier. Plus, it gives your canine a job, which they will love. While any dog can be trained to retrieve, there are specific breeds that are built for the job.

Tracking Training: Dogs can be trained to search and rescue missing people. They can also be trained to find specific items, such as truffles. In the case of law enforcement, dogs can be trained to sniff for explosives and narcotics. At Coastal, our very own Meg Walker and her dog Maverick work together to do search and rescue in Benton County. Read more about this team and her advice on preparing for an emergency here.

Agility Training: Want to get some exercise along with your pet? Agility training is a fun, brain-building, cardio-centric way of engaging your pooch. Look for agility training facilities in your community and join in on the fun.

Protection Training: Dogs are born to protect their pack. When you adopt a canine, you become their pack. It’s one of the reasons your dog might lunge at other dogs that approach you. Beyond being protective, dogs can be trained to aggressively protect property or their handler’s safety. This can include police dogs.

Service/Therapy Training: Dogs love having a job, even when that job is 24/7. Specific training to help those with PTSD, blindness, or hearing impairments are possible.

Pets Love Coastal

Your well-behaved dog is always welcome at Coastal. So, leash them up and bring them in with you. They’ll enjoy helping you shop for dog food, beds, toys, pet doors, as well as treats. And our employees will enjoy seeing them in the store.