Call it training or life coaching or obedience but it is all the same bundled into the fact that we as humans need to educate our canine companions about living in our world. We don't lead the sames lives and so dogs must learn how to live in our world. I am a huge believer of allowing and ensuring that our dogs have a great dog life; but to make sure this happens they must learn how to live appropriately in ours.
Having a dog in your life is a huge responsibility; one that should not be taken lightly. You are their companion, educator, leader, protector and caregiver. That's a big job; so what does all of that encompass? Educating and guidance is the biggest job, call it whatever you like but basically it is teaching our dogs to act approriately in our world and to do behaviors on cue; and yes it is very important for all dogs. I don't care if you have a huge Great Dane or a tiny tea cup maltese they all need to learn certain behaviors along with what is and is not appropriate behavior.
You cannot be wishy washy about it; they must learn certain behaviors so that we can communicate with them. You cannot always rely on the fact that your dog is really cute and well behaved. What if your dog slips their leash? Do you panic? What if you would like to leave your dog in a spot at the beach and go talk to someone without your dog; would they stay?
There are several behaviors that are a must for all dogs. Sit is the first and most basic; down, as in laying down is very useful, stay is a must, come is an absolute essential, boundary training can be life saving and as many other verbal cues that you can teach them. The more you teach your dog the easier it is to teach them. The more verbal cues that your dog understands the easier it is for you to communicate to them.
Teaching dogs a human vocabulary is also very important. You should hear me all day long with my dogs; I speak to them constantly. And because of this they understand alot of what I am saying. They may not understand an entire sentence but they get the general idea of what my sentence means. Dogs pick out the words from a sentence that they understand, you can see them listening for those ones that they recognize.
Physical control should not be needed on a day to day basis. You should be able to control your dog without physical contact; if you cannot then you have not done near enough work. I hate collar grabs; everyone has to do it at some point but relying on a collar grab is just wrong. Give them a few lessons on how to act appropriately and you won't be tempted to grab so much.
All dogs are different, just like all people are different. But, all dogs deserve and education. How much education really depends on their human. Education does not have to be a structured event; learning in a fun and relaxed atmosphere is much more enjoyable for everyone involved.
Even as my dogs are in their senior years I still like to keep them on their toes; its good for them. I will do a long down stay, make invisible boundaries that cannot be crossed and try new behaviors that we have not already learned. There is no limit to what you can teach your dog and NEVER, EVER use their breed or mix of breeds as an excuse not to teach your dog.
Your dogs lack of "getting it," is your lack of "delivering it."