As the holidays come to a close and we welcome the new year and their resolutions its time to get to work. Since January is National Train Your Dog Month, why not use this opportunity to start some good habits and strengthen the bond with your dog.
Training your dog can be a daunting task for people with no experience. It may seem like a lot of effort when all you want to do is cuddle with your dog on the couch and watch Netflix. However, dogs are very intelligent and learn things far more easily than most people give them credit for. Most dogs love learning, and they thrive if they are kept stimulated. The training experience will only grow your relationship with your dog.
Whether you are trying to curb unwanted behaviors, learn the basics like sit, down and come. Or want to go for more advanced stuff, National Train Your Dog Month is the perfect time to start of the year right for you and your pooch.
What You Will Need for National Train Your Dog Month
You will need some treats. We recommend Zuke’s. Their Mini Naturals are small and soft and perfect for training purposes. With a pocket full of them you will get your dog’s attention in no time. Zuke’s Mini Naturals are available on our store.
For most dog training you will need a leash. Especially if you are trying to improve your dog’s on-leash behavior. Make sure the leash is appropriate for your dogs’ size. Retractable leashes don’t always make the best choice so do your research. We recommend the Mendota Slip Lead. You can find it on our store.
You may not be interested in all the hoop jumping and dance routines that show dogs are capable of. Maybe you just want to master “sit” or “come” or “stay”. The key is plenty of rewards and patience. Your dog may not understand in ten minutes what you want them to do. Keep up on your training on a daily basis. Training takes time and is a gradual process.
If your dog is still too excited to pay attention. Try training after a long walk or some vigorous exercise so they can burn off some energy first.
Basic commands are fine, but they will not stop unwanted behaviors like barking too much or chewing things they aren’t supposed to. Stopping a dog from unwanted behaviors often starts with teaching a dog to do something rather than what not to do. For instance, teaching a dog not to bark can start with teach the command, “speak”. If a dog knows when they should be barking, a dog can also learn the command to stop barking as well.
Even chewing on appropriate toys rather than your clothes, pillows, or even your furniture can be taught this way. It is all a matter of patience. No training method will work overnight. If you keep at it, your dog will appreciate it far more than being chastised or yelled at for doing something they don’t understand is wrong. Positive reinforcement is a strong teaching tool.
The Advanced Stuff
If you have an intelligent breed like a Border Collie, German Shepherd or Golden Retriever, your dog may be learning too quickly and grow bored with the standard commands. This is where high-energy training comes in handy. Advanced tricks that require mental stimulation and physical activity might be the best way to keep your dog from getting into trouble with all of that bored intelligence.
Are You Ready?
Have you resolved to do any new training this year? What kinds of things are you hoping to teach your dog during National Training Your Dog Month? Let us know in the comments below.