Did you know that January is officially National Train Your Dog Month? Started by the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT) in 2010 and now in its ninth year, the awareness campaign hopes to bring attention to the importance of everyday manners. After all, dogs and humans are two very different species. It’s not realistic to expect them to live in harmony without investing time and resources in dog training. For 2018, APDT has chosen a theme of “Make Training Part of Everyday Life with Your Dog.”
The Benefits of Training Your Dog as Early in Life as Possible
Many first-time dog owners are surprised to learn that they can start training a puppy as early as seven weeks of age. Because your puppy has a lot to learn about life and living with a human family, we recommend enrolling him in a puppy obedience class if possible. Your puppy will learn how to interact with other animals and people as well as become accustomed to a range of different environments.
Proper socialization as a puppy is critical to the psychological well-being of your adult dog. A training class also teaches skills to you as a dog owner, including how to handle housebreaking and common puppy behaviors such as excessive chewing. Your puppy will learn such things as acting politely when a guest arrives at your home, coming when you call her, and not pulling on the leash during walks. Even if you adopt an older dog or don’t get the chance to enroll your puppy in obedience classes, it’s never too late to start.
Use Real Life Scenarios to Train Your Dog
While training classes offer your dog an excellent advantage, he still needs training in everyday situations to learn how to behave well consistently. APDT recommends using these opportunities for dog training:
- Car rides: Even a short car trip is a chance to teach your dog what you expect. For example, he should come when you call him to the car and sit during the ride. If you go to a drive-thru at a restaurant or bank or somewhere that you plan to take your dog in with you, it provides a great opportunity for socialization as well.
- Take your dog to stores that allow dogs: Some types of stores and restaurants, especially pet stores and outdoor cafes, allow customers to bring their dogs. This is a good time for your dog to practice sitting nicely while someone pets her, walking indoors on a leash, and staying in the car while you load the items you purchased.
- Delivery personnel: Your dog is going to have to get used to the mailman, the UPS delivery driver, and the meter reader. When one of these people approaches your house, command your dog to sit and be quiet. Be sure to reward any cooperation you get with extra attention or an occasional treat.
- Cooking dinner, relaxing, or entertaining guests: You don’t want your dog to jump up on you when you’re cooking at the stove or trying to watch TV in peace. It’s even worse when your dog won’t leave guests alone. Train your dog to remain quiet during these times or to play independently.
Of course, you may not know how to teach these skills when you and your dog first learn them in obedience class. It’s okay not to do it perfectly, but you must practice the skills repeatedly or your dog won’t learn them. Please don’t hesitate to contact Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo if you have additional questions about your dog’s behavior or health.
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