Dog Training Tips from Amigo Animal Clinic
January is the annual National Train Your Dog Month. That means that during this month, dog owners and trainers come together to celebrate and promote different tips and methods to help teach people the basics of dog training.
The Association of Professional Dog Trainers created National Train Your Dog Month in 2010. The purpose of this month is to help promote how to turn dogs into happy and healthy companions.
January was chosen because many pet parents decide to adopt or purchase their dogs in the winter/holiday months. Unfortunately, too many dogs get turned over to a shelter or abandoned later due to behavioral problems. Dog surrendered to shelters, or worse abandoned could be solved with the training.
Dog Training Tips
Now that you know the history of this month, here are some tips that you can use and share with others to help celebrate it.
- Use positive reinforcement. Positive reinforcement means that you focus on rewarding good behavior instead of punishing bad behavior. You reward your dog whenever they behave well and respond positively to your commands. Your dog will, in time, associate the good behavior with the reward.
It is also essential that you do not inadvertently reward unwanted behavior. For example, if your dog is barking or jumping on you to say hello, you should not give your dog your attention. Wait until they have calmed down before interacting with them.
- Find a good reward. Not all dogs are motivated by food. Many of them are, but some might prefer going for a short walk or playing fetch in the backyard for a few minutes. By knowing what motivates your dog, you can teach them much faster.
- Be consistent. Being consistent in your training is incredibly important. For example, when asking your dog to do something, you always want to use the same word and even the same type of intonation (the rise and fall in pitch of the voice).
- Everyone in the Household on the same page. Equally important is for everyone in your household to be on the same page. Dogs need consistency to learn new habits. For example, if you never let the dog on the couch, but your partner does, your dog will just become confused. So, everyone in the household, including kids, needs to participate in the dog’s training at home.
Keep Dog Training Fun
Training should always be fun, both for you and your dog! Always keep it positive, and try mixing things up to keep it interesting, such as incorporating short play sessions into your training in between repetitions. Keeping the training exciting and fun will keep both you and your dog in a good mood. It will also keep you motivated to continue to do more training with them.
Get Professional Help
If you are struggling with training your dog, get professional help. There is a reason that seeing a professional dog trainer is generally the fastest and easiest way to improve your dog’s behavior. One-on-one training can be highly effective.
Another option is to enroll your dog in a training class that you attend with them. Training classes can help lay a good foundation for training that makes it easier for you to continue on your own.
In either case, you want the training done using the positive reinforcement method. Read plenty of reviews and speak with your friends and family to find out if there is a particular trainer or class they recommend. You can also talk with your veterinarian to help point you in the right direction.
We feel strongly about the importance of training your dog, and we wholeheartedly support National Train Your Dog Month. Anything that leads to more animals living a happy and love-filled life is fantastic in our book. Contact us if you have any questions about training your dog or if you need any veterinary services. Happy New Year!
Dr. Dominic Carrica DVM