In 2010, the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT) designated January as National Train Your Dog Month. The purpose of the month-long awareness event is to highlight the importance of early training and socialization. Puppies and dogs who have everyday good manners are happier because they learn to live peacefully with their human family.
APDT chose January for National Train Your Dog Month because many people bring home new pets around the Christmas and New Year's holidays. The organization wanted to do its part to help dogs and their owners get off on the right paw by showing that training can be rewarding and fun. Sadly, thousands of local dogs are relinquished to animal shelters every year due to training issues that are easily solvable.
The following represent common reasons that people surrender their dogs to a shelter:
• Excess Barking: Dogs bark for a variety of reasons. Although it can be annoying, it's up to you to determine the cause and re-direct your dog to a more constructive activity. For example, a simple solution to a dog who barks at everything that moves outdoors is to block his view to the window. Your dog may also bark because he is lonely, bored, or in pain. It can take some trial and error to figure out the reason, but once you do, you can help your dog find better outlets for his energy.
• Destructive Chewing: It can be maddening to find that your dog has chewed up your favorite shoes or even the furniture. Young puppies between four and six months of age chew because they are teething and they need something to ease the discomfort. Besides providing appropriate chew toys, you should also use a crate or baby gates to keep your puppy away from items that are just too tempting for her to chew. If an older dog engages in destructive chewing, figure out if it’s due to boredom or loneliness before resorting to punishments that rarely work anyway.
• Housetraining: Most dogs catch on that they need to eliminate outside within a few weeks. In the meantime, you will need plenty of training pads and patience. If your puppy doesn’t seem to be catching on, it may be due to a physical or emotional problem. We encourage you to bring him in to Cedar Pet Clinic so we can test for underlying issues.
These are just three typical training issues that can be frustrating for dog owners. Feel free to check out the resources page at the Association of Professional Dog Trainers website or contact us at any time for further guidance.
Image credit: Alona Rjabceva | iStock