January- National Train Your Dog Month!

We’re just a few weeks into 2018 and most of you are hopefully sticking to your diets, workout plans, and keeping your budgets tight. Have you considered your puppy’s resolution? January is an important month for new puppy owners, it’s National Train Your Dog Month! So help start your four-legged friend down the right, “good boy”, path this year!

Teaching your young pup when and where to potty is the most important lesson! Set a strict potty schedule, keep a good eye on them, pick a command word, such as “outside” and consider either crating or using potty pads when you’re away. Remember to always praise your pooch after an accomplishment!

Most dogs won’t go to the bathroom where they hangout or sleep. Crate training is great to start early in life, especially during the potty training process! Wire crates are popular, so your pup can see what’s going on around him. Make sure and get the right size! He should be able to comfortably stand, turn around, and lay down. If the crate is too big, your pup might decide to do his business in a corner.

Behavioral issues are the #1 reason dog owners give up on a healthy relationship with their pup. This can result in physical or emotional abandonment of the pooch. Proper training is essential and the earlier you begin, the easier it will be. However, you CAN teach an old dog new tricks, so it’s never too late!

The first basic obedience commands, sit, down, stay, and come, are easy to teach as long as you stay patient, consistent, and add some positive reinforcement (treats!). These cues can help keep your dog under control and give a sense of order and structure.

Most dogs already know how to walk on a leash, but very few do it properly without training. Good thing it’s one of the easiest for your pup to pick up on! Start by slowly introducing your pup to their collar, leash, and walking cues, beginning in the house helps. Use a collar and leash inside during play and treat time, so puppers associates that good comes from his collar and leash! When you finally make it outside, be patient and keep the walks short. Your puppy should stay focused and not too distracted. Correct bad behavior such as pulling or lunging by redirecting his attention and going the other direction.

Well socialized dogs are less likely to develop behavior problems. Socialized pups are generally more welcomed by new people, as well. It simply starts with training your pup to accept new people, animals, and places by properly exposing them to these things. Dogs who weren’t properly socialized as pups may react with fear or aggression when exposed to new environments.

If you feel as though you aren’t prepared or educated enough to do the job yourself, look into finding the perfect dog trainer! Take the time to do proper research. Ask friends, read online reviews, or have a talk with your vet to see what trainer or training company they’d vouch for. Word of mouth is a great way to get an honest opinion.

Once your pup has mastered the basics, consider advanced dog training! There are a variety of canine sports that would keep your pup fit and active, mentally stimulated, and help grow your bond together. Agility competitions take place within an obstacle course, and contain jumps, tunnel traveling, and different kinds of walkways. Canine freestyle is a choreographed musical performance that involves you and your pup. Yes, this activity is like dancing with your dog! Disc dog competitions are similar to the game “Frisbee,” but on a competitive level. Handlers are judged in throwing accuracy and distance, while their canine companions’ duty is to catch and retrieve.

Lastly, remember that training your dog is not only beneficial; it’s also a lot of fun! Dogs thrive on mental stimulation — they love the chance to learn and practice something new. More than anything, your dog will wag his tail at the opportunity to get his humans undivided attention, as the two of you work towards a common goal together.

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