Thursday, December 14, 2017

Dog Longevity Survey Part II: How Important is Training to Longevity?

What can training possibly have to do with longevity?


You can see that enough people who took the survey felt there is a connection. But if training means teaching dogs wanted behaviors, what can it have to do with health and lifespan?

And yet, it can have everything to do with it.




Extremely important26.67%
Important36.67%
Somewhat important26.67%
Not important  6.67%
I don't know  3.33%
Other  0.00%

Let's start with some statistics.


Approximately 3.3 million dogs enter shelters each year, out of which about 670,000 dogs are euthanized. Roughly 620,000 enter shelters as strays and make it back to their owners. Of the dogs surrendered, the most common reason are behavioral issues. Some of them get rescued or find new homes, but many of them don't. ~ASPCA statistics

Bad behavior can lead to a dog's quick demise.


Those who surrender their dog may or may not care about what happens to them. Those whose dog gets lost, though, surely do.

A lost dog may not even make it in the shelter and get hit by a car, attacked by a wild animal, get deathly ill instead. Not every dog's owner is found.

The better trained your dog is, the lesser the chance they will run away, get hurt on their exploration trips, and get lost. The better trained your dog is, the lesser the chance they will dash into the street and get run over by a car.

Understanding the rules of the road is good for anybody's longevity.

A solid recall can be life-saving.


A well-adjusted, well trained dog is much more likely to escape all these dangers simply by sticking by your and/or coming to you when called.

Leave It or Drop It are other life-saving cues.


Dangers lurk everywhere. It's not just traffic that can be your dog's undoing. There are snakes, wild animals, dangerous objects ... Being able to have your dog stay away from them or relinquish them can indeed save their life.

Do you still think that training has nothing to do with longevity?


Related articles:
Dog Longevity Survey Part I
Dog Longevity Survey Part II
Dog Longevity Survey Part I Results
How Important Is Weight Management for Longevity?

26 comments

  1. Scary to think. I take photos of animals at my local shelter. It's easy to tell which dogs have had some form of training and easier to photograph the ones in 'sit' position. This is a great, thought-provoking post!

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    1. Thank you; yes, not something people usually think of as a potential cause of death.

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  2. A well trained dog will live longer because it's not at risk - right? Your recommendation that commands can save lives should be tattooed on owners hands!

    Let's hope your post makes people think and learn.

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    1. Right. Exactly. One cannot prevent everything but can prevent much.

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  3. Layla knows one or two commands only and I left it like that, her first and most important one was the recall but I can say she is a very well mannered dog so am fortunate

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    1. There is really no need to know many commands; recall and some form of "leave it" or incompatible behavior is generally enough. Though teaching tricks is fun and bonding opportunity.

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  4. this is a good point -- you want your dog to behave well if it is lost so it can be rescued!
    ~Dear Mishu

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    1. Well, ideally you want your dog to behave well so it doesn't get lost in the first place :-)

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  5. I am so paranoid about my dogs getting lose and lost. I treat recall all the time and taught emergency distance recall as well.

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    1. Great job. Though the going theory that unpredictable reward (sometimes treat and sometimes now) makes the cue more reliable. I have a hard time with that too, though.

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  6. I am struggling to comprehend how anyone can say training is not important to longevity...sigh...clearly we need a lot more education!

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    1. It's not directly obvious, until one really thinks about it.

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  7. People don't think of behavior as an issue of longevity or health, but you really can't separate personality/behavior/emotions/health. They interact and influence each other so much. Great post!

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  8. I didn't think about a dog's health with this perspective. But it makes perfect sense.,

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is my goal, get people think about stuff.

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  9. Knowing that my dog will always respond when I call him back gives me peace-of-mind. It's one of the most important things you can teach your dog, particularly if you live in a high traffic area. You never know when your dog might slip his or her leash!

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  10. I never thought about that connection, but definitely true especially about recall and leave it.

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    1. Leave it to me to think everything to death from all angles ;-)

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  11. We Agee! There are a few key training elements that really should be the mainstay of every human-animal experience. Recall and drop it are vital. Where we live there are rattlesnakes, so these two trainings are super important!

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    1. Yes, even more important in high-risk areas; urban areas, areas with rattlesnakes ...

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  12. Yes I do think training is related to how long a dog lives. Like the other day, a pit bull mix ran up to me and Buffy and the owner was trying unsuccessfully to catch it. The dog ran across the street and the dog just kept avoiding being caught. Luckily there was no fight and Buffy distracted the dog long enough for the owner to grab it. A good recall or even a leave it or wait command would have been very helpful. I wonder how long this dog will live.

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    1. Yes, they can be life-saving. Well, if the dog has "street smarts" he might live on just fine; some dogs know how to avoid getting hurt; most don't, though.

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  13. I totally agree with you and these survey results. Recalls are essential in all situations where the dog is loose. There are so many hazards that are in the environment that "Leave It" is also at the top of the list of behaviors that must be a part of your pet's lifestyle.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, many hazards everywhere; recall and "leave it" are life-saving.

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