You may think that training your dog to do tricks such as retrieving a toy or shaking hands may be a waste of time and a bother, but it would do you good to take a second look at training your dog beyond the basics of "come, stay, and sit". Training offers far more than mere entertainment. Three benefits of continuing your dog's education are socialization, safety, and bonding. Consider these closely when you think about training your dog.
There are dangers out there everyday that can be easily averted by some basic training. Hand signals are among the easiest and quickest forms of training. By utilizing hand signals, you can stop your dog from a distance and make him stay out of a potentially life-threatening situation.
For example, you may be able to keep your dog from running into a busy street and getting hit by a car. Dogs have no concept of the dangers cars pose, they only know that they are great fun to chase or ride in. Training in this sense can provide you with a safety net and an distinct advantage over another who might not have deemed such training a necessity.
Aside from those two very practical reasons to train your dog, however, there is a third benefit that busy people sometimes overlook. Time spent training your dog is time the two of you will spend together. If you've ever built a model with your kid or fixed a computer or baked a cake with a friend, you know that accomplishing a goal with a loved one can be a valuable bonding experience. Dogs are not immune to this. If you spend just a few minutes each day training your dog, it will give both of you a sense of accomplishment and bring you closer together.
A trained dog is a safer dog. One of a pet owner's biggest fears is that their beloved animal will one day get away from during a walk and be hit by a car. Some very basic training can give you a safety net in just such a situation. For instance, imagine that your dog runs out the front door one morning and you lose track of him.
When you find him, he is on the other side of a busy street, and his first impulse may be to bound happily toward you at first sight. But if he is well-trained, you can signal for him to sit and wait for you to come and leash him. Disaster averted.
Don't leave out the party tricks either! As soon as the basics are mastered, there is no reason to stop the learning process. Keep going - see how far you and your dog can go!